SPRING CITY, Abaco – Minister of the Environment Romauld Ferreira yesterday expressed confidence that Disney Cruise Line will properly conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for its controversial redevelopment of Lighthouse Point in South Eleuthera.
He said once the government receives the EIA, it will make it public.
“The way you do an environmental impact assessment is not [a] mystery,” Ferreira said.
He added, “ …This is really nothing new.
“The construction of a pier and the installation of amenities I’m sure is no new ground-breaking era. It’s all well-established industrial activities with well-known impacts and well-known mitigating measures.”
Ferreira said an EIA aims to get “ the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people”.
“That’s the whole purpose of an environmental impact assessment tool and so that tool will be applied and is applied to all developments in the country and the Disney development in South Eleuthera will be no exception,” he said.
“I’ve not received the final environmental impact assessment for it but as we get the information 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 read the pros and cons for yourself.”
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced in March that the government signed a heads of agreement (HOA) for the $250 million to $400 million project amid raging public debate over the matter.
Environmentalists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have spoken out against the development potentially destroying the ecological and cultural assets of the environment.
The One Eleuthera Foundation and the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) were at the forefront of the resistance with their Save Lighthouse Point petition and lobbied the government for approval to turn the 700-acre property into a national park.
Shortly after the signing of the HOA, Disney Cruise Line Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications Kim Prunty indicated that an EIA had already begun.
The EIA has not yet been completed.