The stage may be set for a battle between user groups and community associations after a local seniors group won a legal battle to occupy a centre on public land in the northwest.

The Nifty Fifties took a local community association and the City of Calgary to court after the association tried to charge them rent for using the building.

The seniors won the court case when the judge ruled it would be unconscionable for the city or the Parkdale Community Assocation to take control of the Nifty Fifties' current building given their history.

The Nifty Fifties group argued it had raised money for the extension to the community centre and therefore they had the right to occupy it even though it is built on city land.

‘When we got up to a hundred and fifty thousand dollars the provincial government matched us and all our own money had gone into it at that time. That's why we really call it ours,' said Margaret Caveny, Founder Nifty Fifties.

The Parkdale Community Association says its whole survival is now at stake.

The court ordered the association to pay the Nifty Fifties legal costs and that basically means they're out of money.

"Opens up a big concern for any public building that has a private club operating in it. What does that mean? Who owns the building? The public or the clubs that operate within?" said Darcy Morgan from the Parkdale Community Association.

The community association is also concerned the judge's decision is precedent setting.