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Dawson City golf course transferred to town

The Top of the World Golf Course in Dawson City, Yukon, now belongs to the town, after the facility's former owner refused Yukon government demands to pay back a $518,000 debt.

The Top of the World Golf Course in Dawson City, Yukon, now belongs to the town, after the facility's former owner refused Yukon government demands to pay back a $518,000 debt.

Bill Hakonson has instead transferred the golf course's title to Dawson City, a development that Mayor Peter Jenkins is welcoming.

"The top of the World Golf Course is a tremendous asset for our community," Jenkins told CBC News on Wednesday.

Jenkins said the Klondike Visitors Association will operate the Top of the World Golf Course, in the same way the association currently operates Diamond Tooth Gerties Casino.

But the transfer is not going over well with the Yukon government, which claims Hakonson owes them money on a loan he had received two decades ago to build the golf course.

Loan talks failed

The loan, which was almost $300,000 originally, has grown to about $518,000 with interest. Negotiations between government debt collectors and the aging Hakonson has failed.

Jenkins said he fears the government may come after the town and try to seize the property.

"It would be ludicrous as to how the government would end up treating the community with such a valuable asset," Jenkins said.

"I know Mr. Hakonson realized no benefits; in fact, in some years it was costing him upwards of $100,000 to operate the course. So he carried it on the basis of it being a tremendous asset for the community, and hoping to improve and enhance our visitor industry here."

Hakonson, who is currently in poor health, did repay a $55,000 personal guarantee he made for the loan, government officials have confirmed. But finance officials maintain that Hakonson still owes the balance.

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