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Calls For Lighthouse Point To Be Protected From Commercial Development

By MORGAN ADDERLEY

Tribune Staff Reporter

madderley@tribunemedia.net

ENVIRONMENTALISTS are calling for the entire 700-acre peninsula comprising the area known as Lighthouse Point, Eleuthera to be protected from commercial development.

In a press conference held yesterday, representatives from the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), reEarth, and Waterkeepers Bahamas responded to comments made by Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar on Thursday.

Mr D’Aguilar said although the property is privately owned, the government will not sanction the commercial development of the actual lighthouse site or the surrounding beach.

However, he said the debate is continuing as to whether the entire property will be deemed “off-limits” for commercial development or if the government will allow a portion of it to be developed.

Disney Cruise Line is said to be one of several groups making proposals to acquire and develop the area.

Eric Carey, BNT Executive Director, said while he commends the Minister’s statement, the property “is larger than just some tiny little space” and the whole area should instead be reserved for more sustainable development and sustainable long-term jobs.

“I want to note the significance of what (Mr D’Aguilar) said yesterday, in that the Point itself, the actual Point, which is a small part of the Lighthouse Point property, should be preserved and that it shouldn’t be developed,” Mr Carey said.

“But you know you’re really talking about the lighthouse and the little beach area. What the minister also spoke about was then that…maybe the cruise ship could co-exist with what we’re proposing.

“And we’re saying that we don’t accept that. We don’t think that any type of unsustainable development, which is what the cruise ship concept is, is acceptable at the peninsula of the southern tip of Eleuthera. And we’re encouraging government to reject the sale to any entity that does not guarantee…sustainable development.”

“So, yes, the Point, according to the Minister, should…be protected. And we certainly thank the minister for that statement. And he went there and he saw it and he was impressed by it.

“But we’re saying, let’s go a step further and accept a sustainable development model for Lighthouse point property, the 700 acres. And we’re saying to government: do not approve the sale of that entire property to an unsustainable development.

Mr Carey said sustainable alternatives for the site development include a research facility, small eco-lodge, and a national park component.

The jobs provided by these initiatives could rival the numbers of those provided by a cruise ship port, Mr Carey said.

“(The cruise line is) saying they can produce 100 jobs, 120 jobs. We know that that site directly could produce 120 jobs.”

“There’s already a cruise ship there at Princess Cays, and we believe one cruise ship there is more than enough. Let’s resist,” he continued.

Sam Duncombe, of reEarth Bahamas, suggested Disney share the port at Princess Cays.

Mrs Duncombe also called for the country to invest in more diverse development models.

“While we understand that the Bahamas has basically followed one mode of development for the past 50 years – foreign direct investment, it often comes with the high price of lack of transparency, degraded communities and environments,” she said.

“We cannot stress enough that a cruise port that decimates the environment, restricts access, and has a one-sided economic benefit, for the cruise ship company, is no longer a business model which benefits or sustains the Bahamian people or our fragile environment.”

Mrs Duncombe added the environmental organization Mission Blue has added Lighthouse Point as one of its “Hope Spots”. These are “special places that are critical to the health of the ocean — Earth’s blue heart,” Mrs Duncombe quoted in a statement.

She said local organizations which support Saving Lighthouse Point include the BNT, reEarth, Save the Bays, Waterkeepers Bahamas, Bannerman Town, Millars, John Millars, Eleuthera Association, Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation, Earthcare, and Raising Awareness about the Bahamas Landfill.

Comments

Soapstop 1 year, 10 months ago

Excellent coverage, excellent alternative plan instead of Disney’s “vision”!!

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Sherrill 1 year, 10 months ago

I hope this gets a lot of attention. New Providence is basically ruined re any meaningful large land areas to be preserved for future generations of Bahamians and visitors alike. For the future of the Out Islands, we must all boldly endeavour to hold Government accountable and to pressure it to make sound environmental decisions based upon independent studies and assessments. Decisions that will benefit the economy in a meaningful way but most of all, protect our fragile and disappearing natural environments must be FACT based, not a knee jerk, we-can-make-quick-big-bucks mentality.

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Pearl 1 year, 10 months ago

Just look at the damage that years of oil from jet skis have done to the sea floor of Cabbage Beach. Stand on the beach, look out at the light brown patches on the sea floor that never used to be there. Then swim out, dive down and get yourselves a handful of sand. You will find it is crusty, because it is caked with oil.

Then try and imagine what years of cruise ships will do to Lighthouse Point.

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licks2 1 year, 10 months ago

I visited the area. . .THE ECONOMY IS A DAMN SHAME. . .young people all over the place. . .all times of the day with no jobs!! In contrast. . .RICH WHITE PEOPLE AND SOME WELL-TO-DO BAHAMIANS HAVE VERY LARGE. . .WAY OFF THE BEATEN PATH. . .EXCLUSIVE PEACE AND QUITE. Look who are telling us keep jobs out of that area. . .YEA. . .THEM SAME RICH ELITES WHO WANT TO KEEP THAT AREA EXCLUSIVE AND OFF THE BEATEN PATH FOR THEIR LEISURE AND PEACE OF MIND. . . NOT THE POOR AND UNEMPLOYED!! I drove up through one of them side roads that looks like where the old island people them used to go crabbing and came smack dab into the drive way of a sprawling rich person mansion. . .that whole road looks like their drive way. . .all by them-self about 1 mile in the bush!! That's what they want to keep. . .

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bogart 1 year, 10 months ago

The rich the upper echelons will always find ways to protect their own.......of all the 700 islands...rocks and cays....they will always find something to say no to when it comes to uplifting the pore.....they actually are funded ironically ...partially by the pore...fundraisings..donatons.. govt contributions and laws to advise the govt who they wants to crush hope for upliftment....but when it comes to being concerned about the other environtment matters like the canal dug in the reef ocean floor..??. for a wealthy island owner .he still got it dug...when it comes to their maids and gardiners chapping down trees for charcoal they silent.....when it comes to digging up opening up canals for subdivisions dey silent.....when it comes to filling in wetlands for subdivisions....when it comes to knowing dey maids an gardiners building shantytowns dey silent....for decades....mudda tek sic...outta 700 islands rocks an cays they hadda pic dis one....,,!!

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