Islamic centre’s dispute with brew pub catches attention of N.S. legislature
Published Wednesday, October 19, 2016 8:13PM ADT
A high-profile dispute between a Halifax mosque and the brew pub next door has been turned over to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
The Centre for Islamic Development has filed a formal complaint with Service Nova Scotia against Good Robot Brewing Company, demanding its liquor licence be revoked.
Good Robot co-founder Josh Counsil says they’ve made significant changes following the series of complaints, but says the mosque continues to be unreasonable.
"If our licence was revoked, it would mean the end of our business, bankruptcies, unemployment of our 20 staff, and a whole of debt for Angus, Doug and I to pay off," said Counsil.
The Centre for Islamic Development has owned the property for more than 15 years, but just finished its multimillion-dollar building in 2014. Among other things, it's a fully functioning mosque and school.
Centre director Zia Khan insists the complaint has nothing to do with religion and he's almost apologetic, as Islam teaches it's important to have great respect for neighbours.
“It’s coming right next to a mosque or a synagogue or a church or a temple and opening a place where you want to distribute free condoms,” said Khan, director for the Centre of Islamic Development. “You have Good Robot rolling papers, you have dancing parties, I mean there's no end.”
Khan says Nova Scotia’s liquor regulations state that licences can’t be granted if they interfere with a school or church.
Nova Scotia's Utility and Review Board will have the final say on the matter, telling CTV News it has, "Received the quiet enjoyment complaint relating to the Good Robot Brewing Company referred from the Alcohol and Gaming division of Service Nova Scotia.”
The matter made its way to the Nova Scotia legislature, where the minister responsible admits the department may have to do a better job at making sure everyone affected has a say when liquor licences are handed out.
"We have to improve that stakeholder engagement piece to ensure all residents have the opportunity to be heard," said Minister of Service Nova Scotia Mark Furey.
The two sides have agreed to meet this weekend in hopes of sorting out their differences, but any deal they make now has to have the approval of the board.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.