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Disney rival ups the ante

The Lighthouse Point Partnership (LPP) said if it is given the green light to develop the 800 acres of land that make up Lighthouse Point in South Eleuthera, it will create 190 full time jobs, boost the country’s GDP by $11.5 million and preserve the natural environment.

The details were included in the partnership’s proposal to the government. It is an updated proposal from the one forwarded to the Office of the Prime Minister in March, which envisioned fewer jobs and economic output.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said he planned to meet with the group yesterday to discuss its proposal.

Disney Cruise Line has proposed to purchase the land and develop a cruise port at the scenic beach site at the southern tip of Eleuthera.

Minnis said he will make a decision regarding the two proposals next week.

LPP did not indicate, in its proposal, how it intends to acquire the 800 acres of land that comprises Lighthouse Point. The property is owned by an American entity that is in the final stages of contract negotiations with Disney.

LPP said its preliminary development budget is estimated at $23 million, plus the cost for acquiring the land.

The partnership is made up of the Bahamas National Trust, the Leon Levy Foundation, the One Eleuthera Foundation and the Island School.

“We believe our vision is aligned with the long-term vision of the government of The Bahamas for individual islands and island groups of The Bahamas to build permanent and sustainable jobs and economic development upon the history, culture, desires and ambitions of its local communities,” the executive summary said.

“That is at the core of all our plans.

“Unlike previous plans for Eleuthera that were based on large-scale developments or smaller ones that failed to deliver on the permanent jobs promised and compared with alternative proposals currently under consideration from foreign entities for incompatible commercialization and restricted public access to Lighthouse Point (LHP), our proposal outlines a sustainable development model and corresponding land use for the total area of the site.

“We have defined a thoughtfully customized plan for LHP that integrates a new national park with complementary eco- tourism to create over 350 meaningful jobs across all acres of the site.

“In this project, we have a unique opportunity to brand our island and create a unique product building on the success of institutions such as the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve and the Island School, which are fast becoming world-renowned.

“Our plans are based on attracting, cultivating and expanding national sustainable tourism brands with proven track records of job creation, sustainability and economic contribution so that our economic projections for permanent, sustainable jobs and for incremental GDP are not speculative and in fact support a higher return of profits to the Bahamian economy.

“These include premier brands by successful Bahamian entrepreneurs including Little Island Group (the Ocean View Club and the Other Side), Holowesko Partners (the Island House), and Bahamas Boutique Hotels Group Limited (Hope Town Harbour Lodge).

“We will also seek to attract global eco-tourism brands, such as Alila Hotels and Resorts, Banyan Tree and Six Senses.”

LPP said its development program consists of establishing the Lighthouse Point National Park, which will be preserved for all Bahamians; and its sustainable development, which will consist of eco-lodging and supportive hospitality uses, a research center and educational and workforce training facilities.

Economic impact

Regarding the economic impact of its proposal, LPP argues that it will create 190 full time jobs, $7.7 million in annual earnings, $13.76 million in annual economic output, $11.56 million annual GDP increase and $300,000 in annual National Insurance Board payments.

“These 190 projected jobs are full-time, year-round, permanent employments that provide high-quality and secure economic benefits for Bahamians,” LPP said.

“The jobs range from transportation and recreation to national park and resort operations, as well as highly specialized professional and managerial positions for local residents.

“These jobs will help build and strengthen the region’s human capital, providing pathways for individuals’ long-term professional success and livelihood.

“Targeted investments in local hiring and training programs will ensure that Bahamian residents have the skills and information to seize and excel in these opportunities.”

During its planned two-year construction period, LPP said it will create 166 construction jobs, $11.25 million in earnings, $16.9 million in economic output, $14.3 million one-time GDP increase and $438,000 in NIB payments.

“Preliminary estimates indicate that a total of 32 people will be directly employed in the management, maintenance, and operations of the national park, research and education facilities and visitor services, with aggregate annual wages and salaries of $676,480,” the proposal said.

“In addition to these jobs, it is estimated that the eco-lodge, restaurant/bar and retail store/recreation hub would together employ 111 people, with aggregate wages and salaries totaling approximately $5.32 million.”

LPP said in addition to direct jobs, it estimates that its operations will generate 168 full time indirect and direct jobs, nearly $12.4 million in annual economic output and an increase of $10.4 million in GDP.

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