Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday he feels comfortable that Disney Cruise Line (DCL) will take every precaution necessary to address all environmental concerns surrounding the development of its cruise port at Lighthouse Point, South Eleuthera.
His comments come after a group of environmentalists launched a new campaign and website this week called “StopDisney.com”, aimed at getting DCL executives to rethink their plan for the island.
“There isn’t a company that I’m aware of that is more concerned about its reputation than Disney. As you can imagine, they have a stellar reputation, and they’re not going to do anything to damage or impair that reputation,” D’Aguilar told reporters at the House of Assembly on Wednesday.
“I feel if there is a cruise company out there that is going to be overly concerned about the environment, and has demonstrated in the past by bringing environmentalists to the country to try and bring about the regrowth of our corals, they’ve agreed to give us 190 acres back, they’ve committed to a very low density project, they’re not going to do any dredging.
“I feel comfortable that of all the companies out there, Disney is going to go further than they have to ensure that all of the environmental concerns are by and large taken care of.”
The government signed a heads of agreement with DCL for the project on March 7. The development is expected to cost between $250 million and $400 million. Disney has already started prequalifying contractors for the project.
The environmentalists outline on their website that they do not believe a cruise ship port is the best option for South Eleuthera and the construction of a more than half mile pier will cause irreparable damage to Lighthouse Point and the surrounding ocean.
Disney is currently completing an environmental impact assessment. The company said in a statement in response to the website and campaign that it would only move forward with the project if it can do so in an environmentally responsible manner.
DCL said it remains committed to developing less than 20 percent of the property, employing sustainable building practices, establishing environmental monitoring programs during construction and operation and donating more than 190 acres of the privately-owned land to the government for conservation and public use, among other commitments.
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News
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