The view at Lighthouse Point. Photo: Barefoot Marketing
By Morgan Adderley
Tribune Staff Reporter
WHILE the final Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Disney Cruise Line’s proposed Lighthouse Point project has yet to be completed, Minister of Environment Romi Ferreira on Friday vowed that this information will be made public as soon as it is received by the government.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of key presentation ceremony in Abaco, Mr Ferreira also said he’s "looked at” the EIA for the Oban Energies deal, although he declined to give further details on the matter.
The Disney deal in South Eleuthera has long been controversial, with activists raising concerns last month about the adequacy of the proposed EIA.
Earlier this month, The Tribune reported that in a collaborative letter to Walt Disney’s top senior sustainability officer, environmentalists noted the recently released Heads of Agreement for Lighthouse Point describes a project “far larger than anticipated”.
When asked to respond to this, Mr Ferreira told reporters: "An (EIA) is a planning tool and the purpose of that tool is to take any development and do like a cost/benefit analysis.”
He added this is an example of analysing the "greatest benefit for the greatest number of people”.
"That’s the whole purpose of an (EIA) tool,” he continued. "So that tool will be applied and is applied to all developers in a country and the Disney development in South Eleuthera will be no exception.
"I have not received the final (EIA) for it but as we get the info we will make it public on the government’s website and we encourage all Bahamians (to) keep abreast of what’s going on so you can weigh the pros and cons for yourself so you can come to an informed opinion.”
Mr Ferreira was also asked whether he was confident due diligence is being undertaken in the matter.
Underscoring that the EIA has yet to be completed, Mr Ferreira noted the way EIAs are completed is not a mystery.
"So the protocol as to what’s involved in an (EIA), that’s kind of like known science, well established. That’s not going to change.
"What changes or what happens is that there is a degree of specificity for a particular project and even that- I mean this is really nothing new, the construction of a pier and the installation of amenities…there’s no new ground breaking there at all, they’re all well-established industrial activities with well-known impacts and well known mitigating measures.”
Mr Ferreira was also asked to address the delay with releasing the Oban Energies EIA.
To this, Mr Ferreira noted Labour Minister Dion Foulkes is chairman of that particular committee.
“I’m sure that at the appropriate time, everything will be made public,” he added.
Mr Ferreira also said he’s seen and looked at the EIA but declined to give any comment on the matter.