Good Robot and Islamic centre talk it out

Both parties plan to have regular meetings in the future.

The formal complaint against Good Robot Brewing has been withdrawn, much to the relief of co-owner Josh Counsil.

“We’re optimistic moving forward,” says Counsil, following a teleconference with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

The Centre for Islamic Development filed a complaint against the bar in September, and media coverage was followed by a nasty trial in the court of public opinion. However, both parties met in person on Sunday to discuss the problems.

On Thursday, Good Robot posted a statement on its Facebook and Twitter about the aftermath.

“We never sought the public attention and tone that emerged in a matter that should have been a private and respectful discussion between neighbours,” reads the statement, a joint effort between Good Robot and the centre.

“We were able to collectively develop a list of steps that will be taken to improve the relationship and plan to reconvene regularly to ensure our mutual goals are being met,” it continues. “We look forward to strengthening our future as good neighbours.”

Counsil isn’t comfortable going into the specifics, but he’s willing to talk about one of the 12 steps.

“When the beer garden re-opens in the spring, we are going to employ a door-person to work at the front of the garden,” he says. The hope is that the person will make sure no one causes problems for Good Robot patrons or the surrounding businesses.

Counsil says many of the issues were due to communication breakdown—someone from the centre would talk to a staff member in person, for example, but that message wouldn’t get passed on to any of the owners.

“Any of the individual complaints weren’t being heard,” explains Counsil. “So, it was a big clarification session essentially, followed by a ‘get to know your neighbour’ meeting.”

For Zia Khan, the director of the Islamic centre, having a bar beside a place of worship will “never ever be a good fit.”

“Definitely, for the future, we would want them to find different location,” says Khan, but it’s never been their goal to get Good Robot evicted.

“Personally, there’s nothing acrimonious between us.”

One thing is clear: the two establishments will remain side by side for the time being.

“If we want to meditate, you should also allow us to meditate,” says Khan. “If you want to drink, you should also be allowed to drink.”

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