An Ottawa paintball company will have to shut down its business after losing a legal battle with the City of Ottawa.

Marked Paintball & Laser Tag has operated at 4120 Vaughan Side Rd. in West Carleton, a west Ottawa suburb, since 2007.

Its owners, Allie and Däg Militky, have run the business in an area that was never legally zoned for paintball, according to court decisions.

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently upheld a decision that decided against the Militkys, though, denying a leave to appeal.

When Marked Paintball was launched, paintball was not part of the City of Ottawa's municipal zoning regulations. So the business began with a perceived verbal understanding, according to the couple, and they blame the informal agreement for the ultimate demise.

"Any logical person having those pieces of correspondence, and that discussion, would have ended up in the exact same position that we've ended up in," said Allie Militky.

Long legal battle costly to both parties

The Militkys said they spent about $1 million to launch and run the paintball operation, which includes moving close to the site.

The consolation, though, is the couple made about $6,000 profit on an average weekend throughout the year, including off-site paintball parties.

The legal battle has lasted more than three years and Stuart Huxley, lawyer for the city, said the owners could have avoided the battle if they had sought a zoning amendment.

"The way zoning bylaws function is that we have permitted uses and anything that's not permitted is prohibited," Huxley said.

"In this case a zoning amendment would have been the call for the day and that was not pursued by the owners."

Many nearby residents have also spoken out against the paintball business.