Around 100 Biminites attended a Town Hall meeting on Resorts World’s cruise terminal/jetty projects, where residents aired a mixture of support and environmental concerns.
Representatives from Resorts World’s (Bimini’s) development team gave an overview of the multi-tiered project, including information about the development’s Master Plan, the public works project under construction at the South Bimini Airport, and the construction of the pier.
The developer said that while all in attendance agreed that the project has many positives, such as a boost in the island’s economy and an expansion of the tourism product from seasonal to year round, environmentalists queried the location of the pier compared to other possible sites.
In response, Kirk Lofgren of Ocean Consulting, one of the firms responsible for crafting the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), said the site was selected after much deliberation for a number of reasons.
These included minimal environmental impact, ingress and egress routes to both Bimini and the resort, and the fact that the current location won’t impede access to the interior Bay as other options did.
Among attendees, Bishop Angelo Rolle said he felt the Resorts World development as a whole was good for Bimini, as it will benefit his children and grandchildren.
Bimini missionary, Helen Bowleg, agreed, saying for years she prayed for the type of development that is occurring now to come to the island, which has been neglected for so long.
Bishop Edmond Ellis also gave the project his blessing, saying he has walked the shores of the development for years.
“What I see happening here now is the best thing for Bimini, and we’d better accept what God has sent us and move on,” he said. “God is in control of everything. God brought them here; God is going to keep them here; and until God is ready to move them, they are part of our future. Give them a chance. Bimini cannot remain the same.”
Another member of the audience said he had had a change of heart regarding the project.
“I was prepared to come in here tonight to be against what you’re developing,” he said, “but after hearing the presentation, I now realise you’re bringing tremendous opportunity to Biminities.”
Resorts World Bimini reiterated its commitment to forging a long-term partnership with the people of Bimini, and the island’s residents were assured that the resort will work closely with the community during the next phase of Master Plan development.
A series of consultative meetings will be held in the coming months in which Biminites will have a greater say in what they want to see to help them best plan their future.
Resorts World Bimini also expressed its commitment to creating a sustainable pipeline of employment opportunities, as some 350 jobs will be created with the opening of the resort’s five-star marina hotel early next year.