When I first opened my shop back near the turn of the century, I built a nifty computer for a local kid, and delivered it to his house for installation. I had to fit it into this lad’s room along with a venerable cornucopia of exotic aquatic marine life, housed in massive salt water tanks. His obvious knowledge of marine biology later manifested into one of Ontario’s premier retailers and importers of the most exotic tropical fish in the world; a successful new venture built right here in Cambridge. His dad, being the ‘uber’ salesman with an eye for successful endeavours came on board to help his son launch the enterprise; this is a guy that can sell milkshakes out of an igloo in the middle of a snowstorm.
Suffice it to say, the place just oozes success in the making.
One of Cambridge’s busiest industrial corridors connect the villages of Preston and Galt; home to a wide variety of retail, commercial, and industrial companies providing goods and services to local markets, global markets, and everywhere in between. These businesses do business in many different ways at the same time all in the name of quality cash flow, and it’s hard to define many private enterprises these days strictly as an industrial, retail, or commercial operation. There’s one thing everybody on Bishop Street agrees on; whether it comes off the street, off a telephone, or off a facsimile; you never turn down a good paying job.
The policies of our municipal laws forced one of Cambridge’s most successful home-grown retailers into an ultimatum; pay $10,000 in re-zoning fees or move. ‘The Men Who Stare At Fish’ nestled right in beside a music store that fixes, sells and teaches guitars, a commercial sheet metal association head office, a manufacturer of nuclear-grade metal fabrications, a machine shop, a sign shop, and (until recently) a courier, all in the same industrial mall. Perfect fits for the place.
The complex is a living, breathing biosphere; an assembly of living coral, plants, oxygenation, waste disposal, and filtration machinery, all engineered to warehouse a vast assortment of living product. This is one of Cambridge’s most successful industries.
They have a shop full of equipment to manufacture plankton for feed and breed fish for reselling to their customers; they also import and resell fish from the most exotic locations around the world. On-site servicing of existing aquarium systems rounds out the goods and services being provided to a growing Ontario market niche.
After six months, the city councillor responsible for interjecting on their behalf at the time, Karl Kiefer, seemed to have not been able to juggle it in between vacations and weddings going on.
In the years previous the dwelling had another retail tenant who went as far as erecting a road sign, getting the city’s stamp of approval all along the way. I built about 450 computers there; lots of finger cuts, let met tell you. I guess manufacturing imaginary things like software there is okay but not warehousing un-imaginary things like fish.
I should think that Cambridge be thankful it’s not a vacant dwelling, especially in this day and age, and leave it at that. Our government directly affects the very survival of the private enterprises and civilians that support it; procedures in our municipal operations must be such that accommodate the needs of the town folk, and to do it effectively. They should have just told the complainer, ‘no dice.’
Absorbing more and more working capital from an already struggling tax base is a recipe for collapse; a recipe that has gone, relatively unchecked, since before the recent global economic crash of the early 21st century. When those who speak for us fall silent, they fail to uphold their sworn duty to take charge in the light of government abuses; our very liberties as free men are weakened. When injustice prevails, it punishes all.
The ‘System’ needs an upgrade.