Battler hits a positive note on local real estate

October 8, 2013


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Kincardine Realtor, Keith Battler, spoke out on Tuesday, October 8 (2013) in Port Elgin at the Joint Review Panel on-going hearings regarding the proposed deep geologic repository (DGR) siting at the Bruce nuclear site.

photo compliments of Keith Battler Realty site

Battler, who has been a successful realtor for 23 years and is involved in many community groups said that he is also a property developer who is in the process of investing in four developments that will see many condo units for retirees.

In 2006, Battler said he provided a statement in support of the DGR and continues that support.  "I am aware that OPG manages low and intermediate waste at the Bruce site that comes from the three nuclear sites ... Pickering, Darlington and Bruce, with the majority stored above ground and some in canisters below ground surface.  "I realize this has been a well-organized practice for four decades and that the nuclear industry is well regulated by the CNSC and must comply with standards to ensure public safety and the safety of the environment."

Battler said that he has lived, worked and raised two children in Kincardine for more than two decades.  "I can truthfully stand here," he said, "and say that I am not worried about the safety of my family, the safety of my friends or neighbours.  I trust OPG, Bruce Power and the regulators to do their job as they have for many decades."

"I am not a geologist or technical person but understand that the DGR would be constructed in rock formations 680 meters beneath the Bruce site.  Research and science has shown this rock will safely accommodate the waste without fear of contamination to ground water, drinking water or water of Lake Huron."

Battler pointed out that he walks the shoreline of the lake every morning before work and that protecting the lake is extremely important to him.  "I personally believe that placing waste more than 600 meters below the surface in a stable rock formation is a preferable storage method compared to what we have now.  I trust and believe the many years of science behind this project and support moving forward with it."

Battler then turned his attention to his area of expertise ... buying, selling and developing real estate in Kincardine.

"I have heard from groups and the media that the DGR will affect property values and some have cited the difference in property values between Kincardine and Port Elgin," said Batter. "There have been reports that Kincardine has fallen by some $33,000 between 2009 and 2012 and some have concluded the decline must be a result of the proposed DGR. project.

As long as I have been an agent here, 23 years, there has always been a disparity between the two communities.  This is nothing new.  Property values have always been higher in Saugeen Shores because they have the beaches, so that lakeshore values are higher and there are more of them so that the overall value is higher."

According to Battler, the Grey Bruce MLS listings put average sales prices in 2009 at $262,000 for Saugeen Shores and $232,000 for Kincardine.  Year-to-date sales in Kincardine average $246,000 while, in Saugeen Shores, they are $275,000.

"Over the past five years, prices have not dropped but have risen," says Battler, "Saugeen Shores sales are up five per cent (5%) while in Kincardine they are up six per cent (6%).  There has been a leveling off of property sales but that 's the same as anywhere and is a result of the completion of the refurbishment at Bruce Power."

Battler went on to explain that the Grey-Bruce real estate market extends from Collingwood to Huron-Kinloss and to Mt. Forest with 20 regions ranked from the highest to the lowest.  In 2009, Saugeen Shores was ranked 4th and Kincardine 5th out of the 20.  Year-to-date, Saugeen Shores has moved up to 2nd with Kincardine moving up to 4th place. 


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"This indicates to me," says Battler, "that the real estate values here are the most stable in all of Grey Bruce with no indications of decline.  It is the workers around the Bruce site that affect sales and not any particular project.  During the 1998-99 decommissioning of Bruce A and the heavy water plant, properties fell by 50% but, when Bruce Power took over and began refurbishment of Bruce A, property values have consistently risen and even quadrupled in some places."

He pointed out that market values here (95%) are affected by the same criteria as in the rest of Ontario ... supply, demand and interest rates.

Battler added that the nuclear industry has been here since the 1950s with Douglas Point and therefore nuclear waste has also been here.  "The DGR project is not affecting the current real estate market," said Battler, pointing out that he has never had a client ask about the project or if it would impact the value of property. 

"There are presently two main types of retirees moving to the area.  The first are long-time summer residents who have decided to make a permanent move and then there are the parents whose adult children now work at the Bruce site and who now want to be close to their grandchildren."

He pointed out that all real estate forms used locally, whether buying or selling, now have a disclosure with respect to wind turbines but none related to nuclear or the proposed DGR.

"Nuclear remains the life-blood of our region," said Battler, "and since the 1950s, people have been investing in properties here knowing that they are buying near a nuclear plant.  They have watched their investments steadily increase in value and thanks to the consistent and reliable employment by Bruce Power, real estate remains a solid investment."

The DGR project is anticipated to provide approximately 200 jobs during construction and about 40 operational positions plus the economic spending.  "This is a plus and will affect property values in a positive way," said Battler, who also supports the project as a safe storage method for nuclear waste currently stored above ground and adds that he feels it will bring economic values to the area. 

"As a developer," said Battler, "I do not think this project will negatively affect my investments or any other opportunities for further developments and, therefore, support moving forward with the project."


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Tuesday, October 08, 2013