About

This blog is about Parry Sound. It’s my attempt to provide a little more colour and information to the community. I’m particularly interested in the issues Parry Sound faces as a community. Let’s see where this blog can go.

My name is Josef (Jo) Bossart and I’m a Parry Sound resident. After spending several decades moving between cities and countries for different pharmaceutical companies Anne and I made a decision to establish our home in Parry Sound. We have family in town, were married here, and I have returned here for regular visits since 1975. I still consult with established and emerging biopharmaceutical companies, but I do it from here, with travel as required. You can find information about my business at pharmanumbers.com.

Town of Parry Sound

Much of the focus of Parry Sounds for the last couple of years has been on the business and politics of Parry Sound, including its plans and operations. It’s important that in a representative democracy we not limit our involvement to voting every four years for our municipal leaders. Issues arise on a monthly basis at Council that can benefit from the input of the public, before decisions are made. My intent is to share with folks the issues that will be discussed and decided before Council. This hopefully allows people to read up on the issue and contact a member of Council with their opinion on how the issue should be decided. I believe we have a conscientious and capable group of elected individuals, but they cannot read your mind, and they can benefit from public input; polite and deliberate input.

The Railways

As of late I am less vocal on how the railways interact with Parry Sound, people may assume that I hate trains and the railways. Nothing could be further from the truth; I love trains. I almost always take a train when the opportunity presents itself. I’ve been privileged to ride the Bullet Train in Japan, the Amtrak Acela, the French TGV, and of course many commuter train lines in the US, England, France, Switzerland and Italy. Trains, be they passenger or freight, make an important contribution to our society.

The problem, and there is one in my opinion, is that the railways operate to make a profit, preferably as much as possible. Environmental and community concerns are not part of their objectives. And their profit performance is measured in the current quarter and year. This means there is pressure to minimize immediate costs even if they could produce long term profits, or contribute to the environment and communities. Having worked with multi-billion dollar corporations I have seen how this pressure impacts decisions and actions.

The trains running through Parry Sound are not the same trains that used the tracks 20, 50 or 75 years ago. The tracks were never intended to accommodate trains as heavy, or rail cars as long. And people in town, some of whom have been next to the tracks for decades, never expected the trains would be this frequent, this long, and this loud. People’s expectations haven’t changed as much as the trains and how they operate has changed.

Raising the issue of trains and how they can be better neighbours can lead to a constructive discussion that is good for Parry Sound. Let’s remember that if the railways did not have a federal government monopoly to operate on the tracks they would be in violation of many local bylaws, and would not be able to create the disturbance they currently do. Changes can only be made through federal legislation, or if the railways believe it is in their business interests.

Companies will not do anything that hurts their profitability, even if it is the right thing to do. As a community we need to ask the railways and the federal government to do the right thing. Doing the right thing will not only keep residents and visitors safer, it will improve their health. And in the long term it will improve our quality of life and the business environment. That’s good for everyone.

But there is much more than Council and trains in Parry Sound. From time-to-time I will comment on, and recognize, the best of what we are and what we can be; the green shoots.

Contact

If you want to reach me, give me a call (it’s not hard to find), or email me: the address is parrysounds@gmail.com.

9 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hello Jo, I’m appreciating your blog and especially your photos. Thanks!

  2. Parry Sound is a great place. We lived there 1982-1985 and have many wonderful memories. One being the Jackrabbit cross-country ski program that I started with the help of GNSCC.
    But the list is long and of course includes camping at Killbear and sailing in the best fresh water in the world. I’ve “touched” the rocky Georgian Bay bottom 3 times in keel boats and had an awsome blast of fun sailing dingies. “To blow ones brains out” is a favourite expression of mine. I’ve gone end over end in a Laser, an International 505 and a Hobie 18′ catamaran. I don’t suppose that, as a past CPS commander, I should admit to being so reckless in the pursuit of sailing enjoyment.
    We get back regularly to refresh visual images and visit close friends. Jo, you live in a great place.

  3. Helen said:

    I notice this on the council agenda with your comments: By-Laws

    10.2.1 – Shared By-law Enforcement Services with The Township of the Archipelago. Being a Bylaw to execute an agreement between the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound and the Township of the Archipelago for By-law Enforcement Services for a period of one year. [Yes, I get it, but in many ways we are subsidizing Carling Township and the Archipelago. How much would it cost them to do this on their own? Much more than we are being paid. Have you looked at the relative assessments for Parry Sound versus in comparison to these communities? Carling has 1.1, and the Archipelago 2.3, times Parry Sound’s assessment base. At $37.00 per hour we are subsidizing their operations. I’m waiting to see how these communities figure out the dollars and cents of their own police force. Let’s see, you will need at least six officers to provide 24x7x52 coverage when you consider there are 168 hours in a week, there are office duties, court appearances, training, vacations … And then there needs to be an office, support staff, two or three vehicles, and the list just grows. Jeez, it’s nice to have Parry Sound next door and ready to indirectly subsidize your community. I get why this by-law makes sense but I really don’t like it.]
    Perhaps you should be aware that the Town of Parry Sound only have 1..yes I said 1 By-Law Enforcement officer that is full time. All other “officers” are part-time. Though these individuals are trained for the position, it is really difficult to hire someone with the a true law enforcement education when the position is part time. It is also difficult to keep staff when the department doesn’t get the funding it needs.
    By sharing services with other municipalities, the Town appears to be stretching their SINGLE full time staff person, Ms. Purdy, in the By-Law department. i’m sure the stress isn’t easy to deal with.
    Perhaps it’s time the Town took some of their services more seriously…By-Law being one of them, and hired experienced full time staff to give assistance to Ms. Purdy.
    The public should also be aware that, beyond By-Law enforcement, Ms Purdy aslo is responsible for many other things including crossing guards.
    I’m sure Ms Purdy’s job is not easy and the Town doesn’t make appear to care that, if Ms Purdy ever left, to replace her may require more than 2 or 3 people.
    Just a though.

    • I fully agree with your comments. Ms Purdy seems to have significant responsibilities with ‘researching’ a large number of town faced issues, i.e., AODA compliant public transportation, ATVs, pet licensing, smoking in public and private places, …. Council seems to have picked up on this at last night’s council meeting and will be looking into the real benefit of taking on contract services with the other municipalities. Our neighbours are appropriately trying to minimize their costs and this seems to be one of the ways. Let’s see what our neighbours do with respect to the new cost allocations for the OPP. It’s much more than the money, there is the hiring, the firing, the oversight, the benefits, the salary administration and negotiation, the … on-and-on. At this point Parry Sound has the experience and infrastructure to run many of these more complex operations, including by-law services. Perhaps Carling should consider having any new ‘police force’ cover by-law. (Nah, just kidding. “Excuse me” says the police officer with a gun on their hip, “I believe you took too long getting you kayak in the water”.)

      • Helen said:

        I believe that the Archipelago also contracts with the Town. If having contracts wiith other municipalities will mean at leat 2 more full time staff in By-Law then I’m personally all for sharing that service. Does anyone have any idea how many hours are actually devoted to other municipal contracts?

  4. Jason said:

    Hi Josef. I have found some interesting reading in your train blogs; thank you for sharing.

    Today’s trains are indeed much longer and faster than even a decade ago. Efficiency on the railway is obtained and measured through velocity of freight tonnage. This is achieved through constant movement, slightly higher speeds and far more cars. That being said, the demand on the rails has not really changed because the weight is spread out and the wheels are smoother because they are machined more often. In addition, to reduce rail breaks and other type issues, both CN and CP have converted from 115LB (per yard) rail to 136LB rail; this improves the overall safety of the rail itself. The more recent introduction of distributed power has greatly improved the braking and traction of longer trains which has improved safety and efficiency of those trains. This technology has made the 200 car intermodal train with 3 DPU’s possible. Averaging about 1HP required per tonne of freight, these trains can move that tonne of freight about 430 miles on one gallon of fuel.

    I would recommend downloading a copy of CP or CN’s annual report; there is some good reading to be had in there.

    Cheers,
    Jason

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