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.
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.
If you want to reach me, give me a call (it’s not hard to find), or email me: the address is firstname.lastname@example.org.