Disney Cruise Line has selected local firm ENCO International to carry out its geotechnical investigations at Lighthouse Point, Eleuthera. ENCO plans to recruit 50 percent of its workers from Eleuthera.
According to Managing Principal of ENCO Carlos Palacious, Disney is dedicated to approaching the controversial Lighthouse Point development with the intention of preserving the environment.
“Our team has worked on many complex projects over the years with a number of global companies and we are particularly excited to be working with Disney, a brand we’ve grown up to know and love, that also loves the environment,” said Palacious.
“They are extremely focused on the details and, above all, dedicated to approaching the Lighthouse Point project with the best intentions and the utmost respect for preserving the environment and celebrating the natural beauty of the site.”
According to a press release from Disney, the bid process for the geotechnical investigations was competitive and Disney Cruise Line President Jeff Vahle noted that the company is committed to the inclusion of as many Bahamian companies as possible.
“We are committed to maximizing Bahamian participation in this project and our selection of ENCO for this significant work through a competitive bid process is the result of our ongoing efforts to build relationships with Bahamian companies,” Vahle said.
“To date, we have met with more than 70 companies that have expressed interest in assisting with our construction needs and we will continue to build relationships with them. We look forward to working with ENCO to move this important work forward in a way that is consistent with our longstanding commitment to the environment.”
Disney said of the work that will be carried out by ENCO: “The work will help determine the most appropriate building techniques to use pending the acceptance of the environmental impact assessment and environmental management plan 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 Bahamas Environment, Science & Technology (BEST) Commission, which offered no objections.”
Environmentalists and other groups, though, have objected to Disney’s development of Lighthouse Point and have staged protests against the plan, in places as far as California. They are also pushing a petition online.
Those groups contend that Lighthouse Point and the surrounding marine areas should be protected given the pristine nature of the area.
Disney has proposed to give acreage to the government as a nature preserve and plans to develop less than 20 percent of the property, while continuing to carry out coral reef rehabilitation.
“Disney Cruise Line has worked closely with the BEST Commission to outline the means and methods that will be used for the geotechnical investigations and has also created an environmental protection plan for the work,” Disney’s release revealed.
“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.
“Disney has committed to develop less than 20 percent of the property; employ sustainable building practices, including an open-trestle pier that eliminates the need to dredge a ship channel; establish environmental monitoring programs during construction and operation; donate more than 190 acres of privately-owned land to the people of The Bahamas; and provide conservation education to employees, guests and vendors to ensure they know their role in protecting the site, among other commitments.”
Disney purchased the privately-owned Lighthouse Point and signed a heads of agreement for the project with the government earlier this year.
“Construction at Lighthouse Point will begin only after an environmental impact assessment and environmental management plan are reviewed and accepted by the government of The Bahamas and public consultation has occurred,” the release noted.