Left Field Brewery generates noise complaints in East End
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Since April, Mandie and Mark Murphy have been selling craft beer from their tiny Leslieville brewery. Flanked by old brick warehouses on a narrow laneway, the Left Field Brewery has become something of a community hub, with locals buying bottles and sipping suds from noon to 9 p.m. But for a handful of neighbours whose backyards face the laneway, the sounds of chatter and laughter wafting from the brewery’s open garage door are proving too much to bear.
“We were delighted when we found out that they were coming into our back lane,” says Amélie Waddell, whose leafy backyard sits directly opposite the brewery. “It never occurred to me that noise was going to be an issue.”
Waddell, currently spending her days at home with her 6-month-old baby, says she didn’t expect to overhear a cacophony of conversations every weekend.
“The problem is the garage door that they keep open,” she says. “They’re being very bad neighbours.”
Waddell and several other Ivy Ave. residents have taken their complaints about noise and increased traffic directly to the brewery. They say that not enough has been done to reduce weekend noise.
Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30, Danforth) is trying to resolve the problem, having introduced a council motion to have the city’s legal services, economic development and culture, and municipal and licensing standards divisions work with the brewery and neighbours to remedy the noise problem. The motion will be heard July 7.
“I need everybody’s attention at city hall — I need them to make this a priority and fix this,” Fletcher told Torstar News Service on Friday. With no community council meeting between now and September, she thinks her motion will offer the speediest resolution.
“This is a great, great business,” Fletcher adds. “I’ve supported them all the way through. And now it’s time to just make sure that it’s a win-win for everybody.”
For the Murphys, being good neighbours has been a priority from the get-go.
“Before we even laid our shovel to the ground, we went door-to-door and handed out our business cards,” Mandie says. The couple also installed a cigarette butt receptacle in the laneway and gave neighbours ‘No Parking’ signs to post behind their houses. They say that music is always kept low and they even refuse to host private events.
“Legally, we’re allowed to have our bottle shop open until 11 o’clock,” Mandie says. “We’ve opted to close at 9 o’clock out of respect for the neighbours.”
The Murphys say that closing the brewery’s large garage door during business hours is not an option.
“The brewing process creates a great deal of heat,” Mandie explains. Air conditioning, she adds, would be completely inefficient from an environmental perspective.
“Six thousand square feet in a hundred-year-old building,” Mark, her husband, pipes in. “A single loud talker can set off a complaint,” he laments.
The couple’s goal with the brewery, which employs 12, was to bring the west end’s beer culture out east.
Not all of the brewery’s neighbours are frothing. Lesley Bouza, whose backyard is only three doors down, says it’s a welcome addition to the neighbourhood.
“They’ve been great neighbours so far,” Bouza says. “During the day, people will be there — but it’s people with their kids.”
Bouza, who works from home, says her property value has increased since the brewery moved in. “I love that the alleyway is a bit more lively,” she adds. “Before they came in here, I’d had a couple break-ins in my car. Since they’ve come, nothing — because there’s activity back there now. I love it!”