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Dear Urban Diplomat: Our neighbours’ barbecue fills our backyard with unpleasant smoke. Can we complain?

Urban Diplomat: Hamstrung

(Image: Emilian Robert Vicol)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My wife and I have new neighbours who love to barbecue, which is fine, except that it’s almost always pork, which is not fine, because we don’t eat it for religious reasons. The heavy smell wafts into our backyard and makes my wife feel nauseated. I don’t want to tell them what they can and can’t eat, but I want my family to be able to enjoy our space. What’s the best way to deal with this?
—Hamstrung, The Junction

The city has bylaws to deal with neighbourly disputes over property lines, loud animals, unfettered weeds and raging parties, but inconvenient odours? You’re on your own. Your neighbours have as much right to enjoy their backyard as you do. If they were hosting regular pig roasts on an open pyre, I could see you lodging a complaint. But if they’re just grilling the odd pork chop, plug your nose, go inside or retreat to the front porch. Cities are smelly. If you can’t hack it, move to the country.

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