Categorized | National News

Lighthouse Point EIA In Question

Environmentalists  have  raised concerns with Disney Cruiseline Island Development about the adequacy of the Environmental  Impact Assessment (EIA) on the Lighthouse Pointe development.

A  joint statement by the directors of BREEF, Earthcare, Reearth, Save the Bays and Waterkeepers Bahamas said  the recently released heads of agreement (HOA) described a project far larger than anticipated.

The statement  pointed to details of the project outlined in the HOA and  showed a much greater risk for potentially negative impact on the environment, while promising far fewer and more restricted economic benefits.

“Lighthouse Point is located at  an important natural and cultural site in the heart of  a proposed Marine Protected Area. Disney’s proposed  $250,000,000  pier would be constructed upon an undisclosed area of seabed, which Disney seeks to lease for 50 years on a renewable basis. 

“Given the size and scope of the proposed project ( including a vast physical infrastructure and a potential human impact of up to 20,000 visitors per week), the groups  expressed their mounting concerns that Disney Cruise Lines has released no public information regarding the scope of the project’s EIA. 

“Moreover, the groups point out the peculiarity of Disney hiring a very small consulting firm in Nassau to undertake a review of such a massive and complex project,” the statement read.

Further, the groups  recognize the reality that The Bahamas lacks the capacity and resources to analyze and manage environmental impacts of such a large project and so the groups urged Disney not to interpret these shortcomings as a license to exploit the situation. 

The statement said, “Disney, whose annual revenues dwarf the entire gross national product of many nations, should raise the standard in regard to environmental protection, as well as cultural preservation and economic opportunity. “  Notably, the groups insist that consistent with U.S. and international practice, the EIA should include consideration of alternatives – including  a “no-build” alternative and location of the proposed cruise port at another site.”

The groups wrote a letter to Disney’s Senior Vice President Enterprise Social Responsibility , Elissa Margolis expressing these concerns and is calling on the corporation to live up to its own standards and procedures.     

Written by Jones Bahamas

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