Disney Cruise Line (DCL) has made its environmental management plan (EMP) for its Lighthouse Point cruise development public after it was submitted to the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection (DEPP), the company revealed in a notice.
DCL is awaiting government approval of its EMP and environmental impact assessment (EIA) to begin construction on the $400 million project, which is expected to created 150 permanent jobs for Bahamians once completed.
Disney awarded the main construction contract to American Bridge Bahamas Ltd. earlier this year.
The EMP states that before construction begins, mitigation for the hard bottom habitats directly impacted by the proposed development will focus on transplanting certain coral species.
“A baseline coral disease and bleaching survey will be conducted prior to any coral relocation. If stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) is observed, Disney will work with the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection on addressing any issues related to the disease and will coordinate with DEPP prior to taking any action,” the over-400-page document stated.
“Corals exceeding 10 centimeters in diameter within any areas of impact will be relocated to a similar, matched habitat in the Lighthouse Point vicinity. Species will be strategically grouped to account for maximum reproductive success while minimizing potential disease spread. Relocated corals will be monitored for a minimum of three years to assess the success rate of relocation and natural recruitment onto artificial reef piling substrates.”
Disney has maintained that the project will only move forward in an environmentally sound way. It calls for an open trestle pier and marina that do not require dredging, open air buildings, walking paths, a new public roadway and service roads.
DCL has also pledged to only develop 16 percent of its 758-acre site and donate 25 percent to the Bahamian government.
Nonetheless, local environmental groups continue to push against the project. Last week, Executive Director of ReEarth Sam Duncombe sent a letter to newly appointed Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources Vaughn Miller, urging him to meet with environmentalists and “undertake a formal reconsideration of the proposed Disney project at Lighthouse Point, including requiring DCL to supplement its EIA with additional analyses and consultations”.
The EMP, which was just posted to the Lighthouse Point Bahamas website, states that DCL will make every effort to ensure that the impact of construction on water quality in the ship berthing area and adjacent waters of the site will be short term and limited by using site-specific controls and turbidity measures.
“Impacts to existing water and wastewater infrastructure in the immediate area will not occur since these services will be provided fully within the development,” the EMP states.
“Impacts to cultural and historic resources in the area will be minimized through a continued, comprehensive study of the resources on the project site and immediate areas in cooperation with the government.”
DCL stated that during construction the contractor will provide modular housing for approximately 350 employees on the site.
“The temporary housing will be located near the permanent staff housing quarters and will be phased out as work completes. The workers will be housed in stackable units with each unit having two beds. Foremen will have separate units that house one worker per unit,” the EMP states.