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Petition to stop Disney close to 400,000 signatures

Lighthouse Point.

Lighthouse Point.

A PETITION launched by environmental activists in protest of Disney’s plans to construct a multi-million-dollar cruise destination in South Eleuthera has collected almost 400,000 signatures.

The petition is a part of a campaign, “STOP Disney - Last Chance for Lighthouse Point”, to persuade the international company to abandon its plans.

Up to press time yesterday, total signatures exceeded 399,000 on website change.org, with campaign officials describing the move as an “exciting” one.

“We’re looking to reinvigorate the campaign and continue pushing out the fact that we do need answers to our questions,” re-Earth president, Sam Duncombe told The Tribune.

“Disney’s pages on Lighthouse Point talk about how they’re going to be respectful to the environment… and on one hand, they push out a lot of good information but then they’re not walking the walk when it comes to their own development.”

A Disney spokesperson was contacted about the petition but provided no comment up to press time.

Those sounding alarm against the project include the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation, EARTHCARE, reEarth, as well as its partners Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays.

The environmental watchdogs are concerned about the negative implications the project could create for the area’s environment and want more sustainable development options for South Eleuthera and its residents.

Reiterating activists’ longtime concerns in a statement yesterday, Ms Duncombe added: “We are deeply concerned about Disney’s plans for a massive cruise ship port at Lighthouse Point that threaten this unique natural place treasured by generations of Bahamians and visitors from around the world. This is not the place where an environmentally-responsible corporation would choose to develop a massive cruise ship port.”

In 2019, the government and Disney Island Development Ltd signed a Heads of Agreement for the construction of a $250m to $400m cruise port and entertainment facility at Lighthouse Point.

The deal 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.

Some 120 Bahamians are expected to be employed directly during the construction of the project, which will begin after the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) – which was submitted last December—and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) has been approved by the government.

Public consultation must also be completed, and all other necessary government permits and approvals granted.

Giving an update on the process during a Ministry of Environment press conference in September, officials said they were still in the process of finalising the document, noting it will be released to the public soon.

However, environmentalists say Disney’s EIA appears to be “missing in action.”

“It seems like Disney’s EIA is missing in action,” Ms Duncombe stressed to this newspaper. “We were told it was submitted ten months ago and then we were told it was more submissions happening. None of it has been released to the public.”

“The environmental regulations that (were) passed a few months ago, we were asked to comment. We did and they didn’t take any of our considerations. Our fear is given the fact that the whole world is literally suffering from this pandemic that this is just going to be rushed blindly ahead and let so many things go.”

Activists also said Disney’s EIA “must address the realities of climate change, COVID, and systemic injustice and provide an opportunity for meaningful public participation.”

They continued: “Disney has the opportunity to show real leadership in making the transformation to a new model of lower-impact, lower-carbon, and higher-community-benefit tourism. Let’s make Lighthouse Point a beacon of hope for the future.”

Disney Cruise Line has previously said that the company will only proceed with the project if it can be done in an “environmentally responsible manner.”

"Previous development proposals for Lighthouse Point, which was privately owned for decades before Disney's purchase included plans for hundreds of homes, condominiums, villas, a hotel and a 140-slip marina construction." the company said on its website

"What Disney Cruise Line plans to do is much different and is designed to have as little impact as possible on the natural environment. In fact, the project will leave the overwhelming majority of the site undeveloped...Disney is also donating more than 190 acres, including the site's southernmost point and a significant amount of beachfront proper, to the government and people of The Bahamas ”

Comments

tribanon 3 years, 6 months ago

This project would do nothing for our economy under the very greedy business model of the cruise line companies that puts all of the profits from their operations into their own pockets. We will simply be left with the unsightly environmental damage.

Emilio26 3 years, 2 months ago

So what stop you or other bahamian busknessman from investing in Lighthouse Point Eleuthera?

ScubaSteve 3 years, 6 months ago

The "benefits" of this project certainly won't outweigh the short-term & long-term "costs!!!"

moncurcool 3 years, 6 months ago

Could someone please tell me how a petition for Disney to stop building in the Bahamas has more signatures than the population of the Bahamas? IS is that foreign interest are trying to dictate to Bahamians what should happen in their own country?

Clamshell 3 years, 6 months ago

A good question ... about 380,000 of those signatures are from once-a-decade tourists who for years have believed that private property down there is their own private beach and it’s being “taken” from them.

JokeyJack 3 years, 6 months ago

"Disney’s EIA “must address the realities of climate change, COVID, and systemic injustice and ..."

LOL - That's funny. So they have to solve all the world's problems before they can invest in the Bahamas? That's a whole new level of black crab syndrome there, where we have sunk to now starving each other to death.

Maybe they should also be forced to answer how is the Tooth Fairy going to operate in the new cashless society? What will parents put under their children's pillows?

tribanon 3 years, 6 months ago

Have you ever for a moment pondered why a small tropical nation like ours blessed with (i) so much natural beauty, (ii) an ideal location just off the southeastern tip of North America, and (iii) so few native people (less than 400,000 Bahamians) cannot be managed in a way such that each and every Bahamian citizen enjoys a high standard of living?

The foreign owners/operators of the cruiseline companies like Disney, Carnival, RCL, etc. have played a big role in keeping most Bahamians down trodden and shackled by working hand in hand with our corrupt elitist politicians who are only too willing to sell us all out for their own personal enrichment.

Land is our most scarce resource and something must be done to prevent our corrupt politicians from effectively transferring ownership of the best parts of it to foreign corporate interests with minimal if any economic benefit for our country and the vast majority of Bahamians. For decades now Bahamians have been quite literally giving away the economic benefits associated with their natural heritage, i.e. the best sun, sand and sea on the planet. We must not allow this inherent unfairness to continue.

ThisIsOurs 3 years, 6 months ago

truer words have never been spoken. For decades they've put forward this narrative that the land is arrid and good for nothing other than to slap a massive hotel on. blindly overlooking the most valuable thing about the land..."natural beauty". Every time I pass that big barn on Bay St I wonder who approved this big barn on Bay St? Children today know nothing about the hills that once existed on the center of the island, all flattened for a few truckloads of fill. East St hill flattened for duncan donuts shop. The abuse we have laid on this land left to us are unconscionable

Topdude 3 years, 6 months ago

More stupidity and ignorance once again. We are biting the hands that have feed us and will continue to feed us for the foreseeable future. It is clear that this man has no idea of our competitiveness. We can only sell our sun, sand and sea. And it is up to us to be creative to fine tune our products and services.

The FNM Government under the sagacious leadership of our Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Hubert Minnis has been doing a fantastic job in diversifying our tourism product and services.

Look at our Manifesto, read it, understand it and get in line with it. All other things being equal the standard of living has a lot to do with our education and innovation. So stop your arrant nonsense.

Continue you to lead us Prime Minister. We need you. Four more years.

TalRussell 3 years, 6 months ago

My comrade, careful cause all early symptoms point you're so borderline be's candidate becomes suffering an even more serious than before of one your drop knees redcoats Bottomdude relapes.

Proguing 3 years, 6 months ago

The Bahamas has to prioritize between cruise visitors and land-based visitors. Personally, I believe that the most beautiful spots in the Bahamas should be reserved for Bahamians and land-based tourists, not for cruise tourists.

Clamshell 3 years, 6 months ago

The Bahamas has prioritized ... the government could have purchased that land for a nature preserve at any time over the past 20 years and chose not to.

TalRussell 3 years, 6 months ago

Just because cruise ship owners buried undersea in the billions of dollars can be expected attempt to spin the same positive message of don't fret much, we'll be back cruising our mega cruise ships full-paying passengers thing, there is good evidence out there pay attention to how close they're to never rising above comeback waters before forced into declaring bankruptcy....including, but not limited to the sellin' off over 100 their cruise ships over last three months. Most was sold for scrap value monies.
Many thousands who paid for their dream cruises, amounting in the in billions of dollars, are still waitin' to receive refund cheques arrive in the Royal Mail. Many will never receive a refund.
Yes, even a private company in our own colony has bought on the cheap price a cruise ship, thus savin' a perfectly in good condition cruise ship from ending up being sold for salvage.Shakehead a quick once for upyeahvote, a slow twice for not a hope in hell, you'll ever again see 4,000 to 6.000 passenger-carrying Mega ships returning back cruise on high seas.

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