Owners of Halifax mosque, brew pub speak up over dispute
Published Tuesday, October 18, 2016 8:49PM ADT
A not-so-neighbourly dispute between a Halifax mosque and the brew pub next door doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.
Several Halifax Muslims gather at the Centre for Islamic Development on Robie Street for prayer five times a day. It’s also a school for youth with an approved curriculum, and was built a year and a half ago through fundraising.
But the Good Robot Brewing Company next door has also become a popular spot. Those who use the Islamic centre say bar patrons have made it nearly impossible for them to quietly enjoy their building.
“You have the stench of vomit on your doorstep,” said Zie Khan, director of the centre. “You have the rancid smell of marijuana all throughout your building. You have urination on different parts of the building.”
Fed up with meetings that went nowhere, the centre filed a complaint with Service Nova Scotia, demanding the liquor license be revoked.
Owners of the Good Robot say they have taken steps to turn the music down and address the concerns, but the story's been blown out of proportion.
"We're not a drunken road house,” said company co-founder Joshua Counsil. “We're a tap room that serves beer only."
Locked into a longtime lease, the closure of Good Robot would mean layoffs for employees and bankruptcy for the owners. But there still is the question about how the brew pub got a liquor licence to begin with.
According to the government's own regulations, executive director John MacDonald has to be satisfied that, "Operating the licensed premises will not interfere with or cause inconvenience to schools, churches, hospitals, nursing homes or similar institutions."
"Before we issued this Beverage Room liquor license, the public and stakeholders had an opportunity, through public consultation, to provide input,” said MacDonald in a statement. “No concerns were received about Good Robot at that time. "
Zie Khan disagrees, saying the government did not do enough to inform the centre.
“You could just knock on the door, and say, 'Listen, we're trying to ask whether this would be O.K.? What's your input? What would you think?”
The two sides will meet again this weekend in hopes the discourse will end the discord.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.