Disney Cruise Line’s (DCL) environmental impact assessment (EIA) for its Lighthouse Point project is nearing completion, as the company prepares to submit it to the Bahamas Environment, Science & Technology (BEST) Commission in the “near future”, the company stated.
“Disney has spent two years working hand in hand with a team of highly qualified and experienced scientists and other professionals to complete a comprehensive environmental impact assessment of the Lighthouse Point property,” DCL President Jeff Vahle said in a Lighthouse Point update for December.
“When the EIA is submitted in the near future, it will be based on extensive field work, robust data collection and analysis, direct engagement with those who have studied the site and species observed there and an exhaustive review of available literature. As Disney has stated all along, it will only move forward with the project if it can do so in an environmentally responsible way.”
This comes as the company prepares to begin its geotechnical investigations at the Lighthouse Point site, with Bahamian company Enco International (Bahamas).
“The work will help determine the most appropriate building techniques to use pending the acceptance of the EIA and environmental management plan (EMP) that also align with Disney’s commitment to the environment. The geotechnical work will begin within the next two weeks and has been reviewed by the BEST Commission, which offered no objections,” Vahle said in the update.
“Disney has worked closely with the BEST Commission to outline the means and methods and created an environmental management plan for this work. In accordance with the plan, the geotechnical investigations will involve taking small core samples of sand and rock in places where structures will be built on land and over the water.”
Environmentalists have argued that the project at Lighthouse Point may destroy the ecological and cultural assets of the local environment.
Just last month, a group of scientists urged Disney to find a different location for its cruise port, citing the “long-term harm” it may cause to the environment.
Disney has maintained its “commitment to the environment” by promising to develop only 20 percent of the property and employing sustainable building practices – one of which it said is building an open-trestle pier that eliminates the need to dredge a ship channel.
Disney said it also recently met with the Bahamas National Trust to keep it updated on its plans and the expected impact on the environment.
“Over the past two years, Disney has had significant and meaningful engagement with the residents of Eleuthera and The Bahamas more broadly. Company representatives have also spent time with scientists who have studied the site and engaged with conservation organizations who routinely work in The Bahamas. These conversations have helped us evolve Disney’s plans in a way that will protect the environment and generate economic activity,” Vahle said.
“Leaders from Disney spent time with the leadership of the Bahamas National Trust in October to discuss progress on the environmental impact assessment during their council meeting at the Leon Levy preserve. The meeting was part of Disney’s ongoing efforts to update business, community and environmental leaders on the Lighthouse Point project.”