Nova Scotia

Islamic centre wants Good Robot's liquor licence revoked

Members of the Centre for Islamic Development on Robie Street say they're sick and tired of litter, loud noise, loitering, vandalism, and urination they say is coming from the next door business.

Centre director says bar customers 'urinating, vomiting' outside Islamic centre

The Good Robot Brewing Company opened in May 2015. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Members of the Centre for Islamic Development on Robie Street say they're sick and tired of beer bottles, cigarette butts, marijuana smells, loitering, vandalism, vomiting, urination and loud noise they say is coming from the next door business, Good Robot Brewing Company.

"At one time the noise was so unbearable we couldn't walk in the hallway. They've had marijuana smoking right in our vestibules, right in our doorways so it goes all throughout the premises," said Zia Khan, the director of the centre.

"We find vomit in front of our doorways — not every morning. We find urine, we find beer bottles smashed."

Zia Khan said garbage like bottles are left at the entrance of the centre. He said cars end up parking on the sidewalk. (Submitted by Centre for Islamic Development)

The centre, which has been in the neighbourhood close to two decades, filed a complaint against the bar and brewery with the alcohol and gaming division of Service Nova Scotia on Sept. 28. The centre wants the brewery's liquor licence revoked.

Khan said the centre has also been taking pictures of the infractions.

'Urinating, vomiting, you name it'

"In the bylaw, when it says you don't have any access to peace and enjoyment of your own property, then one of the reasons to actually retract the licence is that," said Khan.

"Urinating, vomiting, you name it. It was a big party right in our doorways."

Prior to the formal complaint, Khan said representatives with the centre met with brewery staff to talk about noise and mess issues. He said he was assured that something would be done, but said it's gotten worse.

"The music is so loud that we've had to put insulation in our windows and even then the beat of the music actually comes inside so we can't even have a meeting or can't talk or do anything," he said.

"It's like having a blaring radio station that you don't like."

Khan said patrons at the brewery turf their cigarette butts on the lawn outside the Islamic centre. (Submitted by Centre for Islamic Development)

The Good Robot Brewing Company opened next to the centre on May 9, 2015. Its tap room opened that December and the beer garden opened in May 2016. 

Khan said others in the area have called police to complain about the brewery, though he said the centre has not.

Halifax Regional Police said Tuesday it had received eight noise complaints regarding Good Robot.

The municipality has opened an investigation into a complaint made against Good Robot regarding noise and litter, said spokesperson Brendan Elliott. He said a compliance officer was assigned to the case last week and said it's unclear when the complaint was lodged.

Elliott said the compliance officer will sit down with the business owners and the complainant and try to find a solution that satisfies everyone. Elliott said he couldn't say who laid the complaint.

Charges are possible, but a last resort, said Elliott.

'We're hoping to have a sit down,' says brewery

Joshua Counsil, one of the co-founders of Good Robot, said the brewery is taking the accusations from the Islamic centre "very seriously." Counsil said he learned about formal complaint to Service Nova Scotia late last week. 

"The three co-founders and our legal representation are looking at the individual matters and we're going to come up with solutions that work for everyone," said Counsil.

"We're just trying to go about this as diplomatically as possible."

The Centre for Islamic Development (left) next to the brewery on Robie Street. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Counsil said he believed the relationship with the centre had been cordial. The next step, he said, will be to reach out to the centre.

"We were very shocked at the whole thing and we're hoping to have a sit down this week," he said.

Xenophobic messages

Since news came out about the complaint, Khan said he received hurtful messages. He said the complaints have nothing to do with religion.

"They're extremely like Islamophobic, xenophobic, kind of the idea of 'Get used to our way of life' and 'You foreigners' and 'You Middle Easterners' and we're getting all kinds of nasty letters. People don't realize it's a bylaw issue," he said.

"It's not like 'Oh, why all of a sudden?' Because we tried to deal with it on a neighbourly basis. We went to [the brewery] umpteen number of times."

About the Author

Anjuli Patil

Reporter

Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.