OTTAWA -- Kanata residents have scored a victory in the fight over the future of the Kanata Golf and Country Club.

In a ruling released Friday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Marc Labrosse ruled a 40 per cent greenspace agreement signed in the 1980s between the city of Kanata and developers "continues to be a valid and binding contract."

In October, 2019, ClubLink, the company that owns the Kanata Golf & Country Club, formally applied to the city of Ottawa to bulldoze the golf course and build more homes. ClubLink and its developers, Minto Communities and Richcraft Homes, promised a new community with a minimum 25 per cent greenspace.

The same month, the city filed paperwork to bring the case to court, calling on ClubLink to withdraw its building application or offer the land to the city for free. The city argued ClubLink must respect their obligations under the 40 per cent agreement signed in the 1980s. The city also noted that the agreement prohibits ClubLink from developing the golf course property without first offering the land to the city.

In his judgement, Justice Labrosse rules section five of the 1981 agreement that sets out the agreed-upon methods of protection and deals specifically with the golf course lands "continue to be valid and enforceable."

Labrosse's judgement notes continued operation of the golf course is essential to maintaining the 40 per cent open space principle in the agreement. The judgement also says that if the city discontinues the golf course use, it can use the land for recreational and natural environmental purposes without breaking the agreement.

The Kanata Greenspace Protection Coalition, a grassroots organization supporting the city's efforts to ensure the 40 per cent agreement is enforced, said it was "overjoyed" by the decision.

"This is a significant milestone and we are very pleased with the decision. It sends a clear message to ClubLink, Minto Communities and Richcraft Homes, and we hope to all developers that try to skirt the rules," said chair Barbara Ramsay.

"As we've said many times, this greenspace is Kanata's Green Heart, that's why our residents chose to live here."

City of Ottawa staff are reviewing the judgement, and will provide more details to council in the coming days.

In a memo to Council, city solicitor David White noted the judge also determined that ClubLink "had not, by virtue of having filed development applications for the property, effectively decided to discontinue the operation of the golf course, such as would obligate the company to offer the lands to the city."

In November, the city's planning committee rejected ClubLink's plan to develop the Kanata Golf and Country Club.

ClubLink wanted to build 1,544 residential units on Campeau Drive, including 322 townhouses and 630 detached dwellings.