A ruling from last June stands that will keep the Cochrane Golf Club intact for as long as people continue to play golf.

Residents of Riverview are celebrating the dismissal of an appeal to overturn a ruling that upheld the restrictive covenant placed on the lands of the Cochrane Golf Club in 2007 by the Town of Cochrane that prevented any other development from taking place.

A review of the decision of Justice Barbara Johnson was found to show no errors of law and that the restrictive covenant is lawful, not contrary to public policy, and therefore valid.

"The covenant is not "spent, unworkable, or obsolete," and the financial interests of the golf club do not make it so," the memorandum of judgment states.

"The covenant continues to do what it was intended to do, which is to generally prohibit further commercial intrusions into the golf course after construction of the multi-family units in 2006, without a significant change in the needs of the town and the support of the residents."

Justices Patricia Rowbotham, Jolaine Antonio, and Kevin Feehan heard the appeal on June 12 in front of a courtroom packed with Riverview residents. The memorandum of judgment was filed on June 26.

Julie Sengl, chair of the steering committee Riverview residents formed to address the issue 3 1/2 years ago, says residents do feel victorious, but weren't necessarily surprised.

"It was the right thing for the court to decide. We've never doubted that we were standing on the right side of the fence here with this case. When the restrictive covenant was put in place, it was a concession. to allow the golf course to develop a piece of their land and to quiet the community so they could proceed."

The multi-family units are on lands once used for a driving range.

"It's awful to have to fight for what's right, but that's where we've been," says Sengl. "We've been fighting for what's right and make no apology."

She says residents have been steadfast throughout the entire 21-year battle

"The community has not moved away. We still have a lot of original residents here who have been in the fight all along. We're not a fly-by-night community. We love our neighbourhood, and we are invested in the quality of life that we have here.

"I hate to say it but look at the other neighborhoods that are coming up and how dense, and how, frankly, unlivable, unparkable, unmanageable they are, in the new vision for Cochrane. We treasure this community, and I think it shows because we had a good portion of our neighborhood step up and put money behind this fight, and it was a lot of money. It wasn't cheap." 

While they expect to receive court costs, she suspects it will be far short of what they spent.

"We'll see how it all lands, but the big return is that we won in the end."

In April 2023, Cochrane Golf Club Limited went to court to remove the covenant registered by the town on the golf course lands on August 28, 2007. It argued that the covenant was "spent, unworkable or obsolete and therefore unenforceable" and that the town's refusal to amend or discharge the agreement constituted an expropriation.

That argument didn't hold water with Justice Johnson. In her judgment last June, she said the golf course had already enjoyed the full benefit of the deal struck by entering into the covenant and should not be allowed to escape its burdens.

The justice also supported Riverview residents’ position that the course could be profitable.

“As long as people continue to play golf, there is a need for golf courses and the CGC lands fill that need,” her decision reads.

The town was named in the initial court proceedings and the appeal.