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Disney’S Go-Ahead In ‘$400m’ Project: Lighthouse Point Plan Allows Land For National Park

Lighthouse Point.

Lighthouse Point.

photo

The Government signed a Heads of Agreement with Disney for a proposed development at Lighthouse Point. Pictured at the signing from left: Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Nicole Campbell; Secretary to the Cabinet, Camille Johnson; Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis; President, Disney Signature Experiences, Disney Cruise Line, Jeff Vahle and Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, Kim Prunty. Photo: Yontalay Bowe/ BIS

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE government and Disney Island Development Ltd have signed a Heads of Agreement for the construction of a $250m to $400m cruise port and entertainment facility at Lighthouse Point, Eleuthera.

The deal, announced by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis during a recent town hall meeting, allows for the conveyance of 190 acres of land along the southernmost point of the property — a $6.29m value — to the government for establishment of a national park.

In a subsequent statement on the announcement, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) also noted Disney’s “completed acquisition” of the highly sought after property from a “private seller”.

Core elements of the proposed project, according to the OPM’s statement, include low density development and sustainable design, public access and economic opportunities for Bahamians.

Under the HOA, Disney has ensured a minimum of 120 Bahamians will be employed directly during the construction of the project.

Disney also has committed to aim for an overall ratio of 80 percent Bahamian workers to 20 percent non-Bahamian workers during the life of the construction phase of the project.

However, the statement said this element would be “subject to qualified labour being available and the need to ensure the highest level of technical compliance with international standards.”

The statement continued: “DCL (Disney Cruise Lines) will also create as many as 150 permanent, sustainable jobs with health benefits in a range of positions for Bahamians once construction is completed.

“The development will provide a variety of entrepreneurial opportunities for residents of Eleuthera and Bahamians in general.

“DCL will partner with agencies to develop training and professional development programmes, including the LIM Maritime Academy, Access Accelerator (Small Business Development Centre) and the Hospitality Institute of the University of the Bahamas.

“Space must be provided for Bahamian vendors on the property for the sale of authentic, high quality Bahamian retail goods, services, souvenirs, arts and crafts, Bahamian T-shirts and other merchandise,” it read.

According to OPM, Disney must also give priority to Bahamian owners and operators to provide port adventures for DCL guests while its ships are in port, and will seek to use Bahamian entertainers.

The government’s statement said other elements of the project include the integration of Bahamian cultural and artistic expression into the design of the site and experiences offered.

“Disney also will provide all citizens and residents of the Bahamas with access to the property for non-commercial purposes and will collaborate with government and local communities to meaningfully contribute to initiatives that meet community needs, with a special focus on children and families,” the statement noted.

“This includes assisting with local schools, assisting with identifying and enhancing tourist heritage sites in South Eleuthera and exploring opportunities to improve medical facilities that serve the residents of South and Central Eleuthera.”

The OPM statement suggested that DCL also intends to increase the number of ship calls at the Port of Nassau and/or the Port of Freeport by 30 to 40 percent over the number of calls made by its ships in 2018.

The statement added that construction of the project will not begin until an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and environmental management plan (EMP) are reviewed and approved.

According to the release, Dr Minnis said the government is “satisfied” with the move, calling it “the best decision in the interest of the Bahamian people, a sustainable future for the people of Central and South Eleuthera and the economic development of the country.”

He added: “The implementation of this project supports the government’s plan of expanding the economy of our country and economic opportunities for our people by promoting development in the Family Islands.”

To conclude its statement, the OPM said the government notes Disney’s record of environmental stewardship, asserting that it will “ensure that the project is implemented in a manner which safeguards the environment and is in the interests of the people of the Bahamas.”

This announcement comes roughly five months after the National Economic Council’s approved DCL’s proposal for Lighthouse Point.

That decision came despite calls from Disney’s lead competitor for the property, Lighthouse Point Partners, to delay the decision for 60 days to give the group an equal opportunity to present its proposal for the property to the public.

Lighthouse Point Partners had proposed constructing a sustainable development which would have included a 100-unit eco-lodge and a learning and research centre with space to accommodate a 20-person class on a 100-acre site adjacent to the national park. The coalition claims the project should yield permanent economic contributions of 190 jobs, $7.7m in annual earnings, $13.76m in economic output annually, $11.56m in annual GDP increase and $300,000 in annual NIB payments.

Environmentalists had argued that Disney would not be good for the environment given its history of managing and operating cruise ports around the globe.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Bottom line: Less prime land for Bahamians; more prime land for foreign corporate interests. Disney's business model has always been one of "all hard currency profits for me baby"; they have zero interest in sharing their pie through any type of partnership relationship with the Bahamian people.

Government should have long ago purchased this pristine property from its private owner and kept it for the Bahamian people to enjoy for generations to come. Pretty soon there will not be a beach anywhere in the Bahamas that Bahamians can frequent for their own enjoyment. Trust me, Disney has dotted the 'i's' and crossed the 't's' in the agreements they signed whereby they will somehow (by hook or crook) be able to prevent access to this property by Bahamians; no matter what our government says on this point. And our corrupt Minnis-led FNM government knows this to be the case. LMAO

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Clamshell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I agree. This property was on the market for about 20 years, during which the government ignored it and no “eco-conscious” group stepped forward to buy it. Not until Disney entered the picture did all this outrage arise.

The Bahamas could have bought this land, and preserved it forever, for far less than was spent on a failing, tumble-down “resort” on Grand Bahama.

In short: Everybody should stop blaming Disney. The land could have been secured long before Disney stepped forward.

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TalRussell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Yes, yes and yes indeed, is this more about the most senior reds being all suspiciously "backup" OBAN signatory unsure?
Just maybe by not inviting a single members press attend big red announcement Lighthouse Point, did the most senior members Imperial red cabinet cautioned the PM to get all the "fake" out - before involving the press? Yes, no cause you've thinks a $250 millions to $400 millions cruise port and entertainment facility at Lighthouse Point, Eleuthera. would've been something special the Imperials would likes celebrate - not "to hide hundreds millions light under loss of yet another private Out Island's, under some foreigner's bushel?" Nope, you can't just make this up, then again we're not all of red shirts mentality.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Your brain is again short circuiting from the uric acid in which it floats. Suggest you take a pee to help dry it out.

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DDK 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let's see how quickly we can destroy our beautiful natural resources. SMT.

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TalRussell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Yes, yes and yes if we're apply comrade Clamshell's logic that the land could have been secured long before Disney stepped forward - then how come empty buildings along Bay been left to decay whilst sitting empty and neglected...... ever try buy one them buildings from Nassau Town's Bay Street's slumlords, yes, no if 'asking price' is out there in stratosphere?

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Clamshell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Tal, as you well know, the difference between asking price and selling price shrinks dramatically when somebody puts actual cash money on the table.

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ashley14 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Yes it will be a lot jobs that Bahamians could hold, BUT it will be with American standards. In other words not on Island time. Very strict employer, well the people attending expect alot. snobs!

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Clamshell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The cruise port area actually is not on the Atlantic beach side, it’s on the sound side. Look at a map. You can’t tie up a cruise liner and build a pier on the ocean side. I’m not defending Disney, but facts are facts.

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TheMadHatter 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Anybody can get land in this Bahamas except Bahamians. What did we have independence for? The Crown and Haitians get the land.

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newcitizen 1 month, 1 week ago

Go and buy it. That's what Disney did. They bought already privately held land.

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TheMadHatter 1 month, 1 week ago

Obviously you are a "new"citizen - because you are aloof to what happened in 1973 when we "got" our own country except that our overlords neglected to give us the land as well. It's like me selling you a car with no engine and no tires.

But i guess that wouldn't matter to you "new" young people - you just call an Uber. Long live the credit card!!! What's in your wallet?

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DWW 1 month, 1 week ago

Absolutely no where in this world can one get land give. to them for free. And if you expected to you may be part of the problem with the bahamas today. Want free land move to Cuba it's all free there dimbnuts

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TheMadHatter 1 month, 1 week ago

DWW - in 1973 we obtained so-called independence to live under the rule of the Privy Council. While that in itself was a huge misnomer, it came with the added insult that our land did not belong to us. Every Bahamian man, woman and child (with the populatiom in those days) could have been given 10 acres of land, easily.

Instead they chose to keep it as "Crown Land" and force us to pay mortgages. In addition, they managed to brainwash numbnutzes like you to believe that it's just "normal".

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concerned799 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Did you know one cruise ship getting up to speed and burning Bunker C emits as much sulfer dixoide emissions as like 6 million cars?

Explain how this is "sustainable" ?

And Park.... With all the fish and corals disrupted by all these ships and people swimming and stepping all over them how anything but a small % of the nature there now will still exist after only a couple years?

Please some one document at least the state of "before" so we can see side by side the "after" of how this debacle for light house beach turns out. I'm guessing tho the agreement lacks any consequence for a huge decline.

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TalRussell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Ma comrade Concerned, over year back, they laughter when I advocated for a $15 per head "Poop Tax" be levied on arrival each and every by air and seas tourist we Colony of Out Islands.
Yes, no would generate a whopping $90 million into PeoplesPublicPurse, be applied exclusively guard over we seas and beaches?

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DWW 1 month, 1 week ago

Diesel and gas are only cleaner because they have already burned off the sulfur ahead of time. Claiming bunker c is worse that others is literally telling a half truth. Dimbnuts

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Sooooooo, what's in the Disney's Eleuthera Lighthouse Point cruise port Heads of Agreement?????? ........... Where can we get a copy????????

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TheMadHatter 1 month, 1 week ago

You cant get a copy because youre just a worthless citizen dog - like me. Shut up and pay ya VAT - and watch out for dem fleas.

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sealice 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Now i see why the PLP is so mad... The flukin FNM be giving away more land then the PLP ever did and look like ain' ga be nothin left to give away when the PLP might win again.....

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Clamshell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Nobody is “giving away” any land. For 20 years, multiple Bahamian governments, whether PLP or FNM, could have bought this land for preservation as a national park. They didn’t. Facts are facts.

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 2 weeks ago

What has Bannerman Town and the other deep South villages benefitted from the other cruise port all these years???? ..... How will Disney be different????

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Clamshell 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Whether it’s wise or not, the people up south on Eleuthera are the staunchest defenders of the Disney plan, as are the FNM and PLP political leadership there ... like it or not, it’s one of the few issues they agree on.

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 1 week ago

And they are all opposed to OEF & BNT???????? Ingraham & Carey???

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Clamshell 1 month, 1 week ago

My guess, Sheeprunner, is that in the end the rallied behind an entity that would act rather than just talk. Again, like it or not ...

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John 1 month, 1 week ago

So lets see if the figures add up Disney is spending more on the port in Eleuthera than Global is spending on the port in New Providence? And the port in Eleuthera is supposed to be a low density, eco-friendly environment? The port in Eleuthera is supposed to be exclisively Disney while the one in Nassau is universal? Either one is overvalued or the other is understated.

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Islandboy242242 1 month, 1 week ago

Think they said they wanted to do wood pylon pier design, lotta $$$ per pylon and they're gonna need a $#%load of em. :)

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John 1 month, 1 week ago

maybe they will fly the wooden pylons in by private jet and have a limo pick them up from the airport and deliver them to the site with white gloves and fanfare.

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DWW 1 month, 1 week ago

One needs dredging the other doesnt. Stupid question to compare the scope of works of the projects without knowing the scope of works dibmnuts

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One 1 month, 1 week ago

subject to qualified labour being available and the need to ensure the highest level of technical compliance with international standards

Where are the jobs posted?

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LutraB 1 month, 1 week ago

A main reason many foreign tourists come to Eleuthera is to experience the various natural attractions scattered along the island such as Preacher's Cave, Glass Window Bridge and the Rock Sound Ocean Hole to name a few.

In my opinion, THE MAIN ATTRACTION on Eleuthera, Lighthouse Point, has now effectively been cut off by the new Disney project!

The Disney project is like Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone National Park being cut off from the public by a new Holiday Inn.

This article states that Disney has given the southern most point to the Bahamas for a National Park. Are we as foreign tourists going to be allowed to drive up to The Point? Or are we going to have to walk in a few miles from the proposed beach park?

I live in West Central Florida and I can fly to Europe for a little bit more than it costs me and my wife to fly to Eleuthera. Why should I continue to come to Eleuthera, rent a house and a car and $$$$pend a lot of money on food when the main attraction is now gone. Ten Bay is nice, but losing an experience like Lighthouse Point is a huge blow to what Eleuthera was.

The Bahamian Government should learn form this missed opportunity and start buying up beaches along the island of Eleuthera (while they still can) to provide a reason for people like me to continue to come. Otherwise, I'll fly non-stop to Cancun on for a fraction of the price and hassle.

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 1 week ago

We (Bahamians) spend a fortune to go and stand in line for hours at Disney World in Orlando ....... same difference.

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LutraB 1 month, 1 week ago

Using your analogy, would you spend all that money to go to Disney if they closed down a bunch of their rides and attractions?

The point I was making was that one of THE major attraction of coming to Eleuthera is now gone forever.

Eleuthera's Space Mountain is now closed. Eleuthera’s Castle has been demolished and walls put up.

I'm not against Disney or any other development coming to Eleuthera! Far from it. It's just a shame that this project had to wreck such a beautiful, irreplaceable place.

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John 1 month, 1 week ago

Doubt Disney will spend $100 million.

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TalRussell 1 month, 1 week ago

Yes, yes and yes - hear me out even if in my best broken English grammars - cause makes no mistake - cruise ship companies should have to inform all potential cruise ship passengers to disregard any perception they may have of a cruise as a travel experience to ever come into contact with a country's natives, cultures or lifestyles.... worsened by Imperial red cabinet's blind-eyed complicity in allowing in broad daylight about something they know is done happening to local comrade merchants, small-time vendors and operators..... sinful, yes, no it sure as all hell has gives you red, red hot urges to want kick their (35) damn red MP's asses out governing office angry?

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SP 1 month, 1 week ago

The government signed another toothless, Heads of Agreement this time with Disney Island Development Ltd!

There are no checks and balances in these asinine heads of agreements to hold these foreign entities accountable to their part of the agreements.

Never in the history of the Bahamas has any foreign entity lived up to the "letter" of any "heads of agreement" and /or any government reviewed, enforced or punished anyone for reneging on any aspect of a heads of agreement.

In the latest government fiasco major phuckup, Perry Gladston Christie and Hubert Alexander Ingraham lost hundreds of acres of land in Cable Beach, THE most expensive property in the Bahamas to the Chinese with the Baha Mar "Heads Of Agreement" at the expense of the Bahamian people.

How the hell can a "Heads Of Agreement" have no clauses for the protection of the country and people?

To add insult to injury, after phucking up and losing THE PEOPLES Cable Beach property to the Chinese with their asinine, toothless "Heads Of Agreement", PM Minnis and his crew of jackasses now want to honor dumb Ingraham and dumber Christie for the greatest phuckups of all time!

How the hell does that work?

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 1 week ago

How does that work????? ........... They are elected by us to run the country (as they please) for 5 years ......... And they do so without any remorse.

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SP 1 month, 1 week ago

They do so without any conscience or consequence is the problem! These corrupt politicians should be jailed not honored.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 1 week ago

D'Aguilar, Symonette and Minnis are the three behind all of this obnoxious giving away of our most precious and scarce resource to foreign corporate interests, i.e. our land; and all three of them have very well funded foreign bank accounts (with Central Bank approval?) that they do not wish for us to know about. Never before have seen a Bahamian government so focused and keen on approving the sale of vast amounts of our very limited land heritage to foreign corporate interests. These foreign cruise ship companies believe in all of the pie for themselves; they do believe in partnering or sharing any portion of the pie with the local citizenry once the deal is closed. There will therefore be a very limited number of low paying job opportunities for Bahamians at best. We know this well from all of our past dealings with the various cruise line owners. Something is terribly amiss here.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 1 week ago

s/b....."they do not believe in partnering.....

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ashley14 1 month, 1 week ago

Disney has a unlimited amount of funds. Believe me Disney is calling the shots. Your government has rolled out the Red Carpet for a piece of the pie.

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ashley14 1 month, 1 week ago

Enterneuers there will be plenty of good paying jobs for anyone with a nitch in hospitality. From chefs, managers, entertainment, printers for advertisers and T-shirt’s etc. Relocate before housing prices rise. Ten years from now this will major employer. Could change your financial lives forever, but there are trade offs for the growth.

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