Earlier this week, we shared news of a town hall meeting in Eleuthera to discuss an economic development plan for Lighthouse Point, a 700-acre peninsula located at the southern tip of Eleuthera. During the town hall, which did NOT include official representatives from Disney Cruise Line or the local government, attendees received a handout.
When asked for comment on the town hall, a representative from Disney Cruise Line said Disney was not part of the event. Therefore, please take the following as an overview of what was presented to the public, not an official plan from Disney or any other developer.
The two-page document points out Disney Cruise Line’s economic impact to the Bahamas as well as conservation and community outreach.
According to the handout, unnamed community leaders in South Eleuthera, who have expressed support for the project say Disney Cruise Line is considering a second cruise destination in the Bahamas at Lighthouse Point.
The handout included a conceptual land-use study calling for a low-density development of the property.
The handout claims DCL is committed to a significantly smaller and less dense development than what other groups have previously proposed for Lighthouse Point. The development plan highlights sustainable design and building practices to limit the impact o the natural environment and to maintain the existing landscape.
The initial site plan calls for setting aside 70 acres for conservation along with leaving environmentally sensitive areas untouched including the salt ponds.
An open-trestle pier is mentioned as this would have a smaller impact on the natural ocean currents and potentially may require little or no dredging which is often detrimental to the surrounding area. On land, walkways and structures would be built using stilt-type design to further limit the impact on the land.
The proposal mentions that more than 100 acres of the property will be allocated for public use and conservation. The proposal mentions access roads and amenities for the public beachfront. The proposal claims that even more of the property including the historic sites will be available to the Bahamian community with structured visitations.
The handout mentions that a preliminary assignment shows that lower development on the property is possible with significant impacts to the environment. A thorough environmental impact assessment of the property would occur before any construction begins as it would be used to adjust plans in collaboration with the Bahamian Government using both traditional and innovative ways to offset environmental impacts.
The handout mentions the possible development of an eco-center to help guests and the community learn about the natural and cultural history of the island with extended support of local organizations and conservation programs in the area.
As mentioned in the town hall video, it is estimated that this development project could result in 120-150 new jobs for the operation of the area and an additional 100 for construction. This doesn’t include the jobs that would be created by tour operators, vendors, and other partners.
The handout concludes with a plan to work with local historians, artists, cultural experts and non-governmental organizations to maintain and restore historical and cultural sites. The development plan calls for a Bahamian influence for the overall design. Guests experiences would be rooted in local stories much in the same way Imagineers worked with local artisans and cultural experts on Hawaii to create Aulani.
The Bahamas National Trust confirmed its efforts to secure Lighthouse Point as a national park and a “model for sustainable” development. The Bahamas National Trust’s mission is to conserve and protect the natural resources of The Bahamas, through stewardship and education for present and future generations. Created by an Act of Parliament in 1959, the trust is authorized to hold, maintain and manage lands, tenements and submarine areas of beauty or natural or historic interest…as open spaces, or wildlife sanctuaries, or places of public resort.
I’d love to hear your comments on the conceptual development plan for the Lighthouse Point property. Do you feel this handout is in any way official, or just a local group attempting to attract a high profile buyer?
I have doubts whether DCL is officially involved in this. I don’t see what the benefit is of adding a 2nd Island so close to Castaway is. And there is no way DCL would be doing this with intent to add public access to their destination. That is what makes me think this is some developer who is throwing a big name out there hoping that it sticks.
What makes me think DCL may be involved is that this saga seems to have been going on for a while now. It’s not like Disney to let their name be thrown out randomly for things like this. If DCL isn’t involved in this I wouldn’t be shocked to see a denial in the next couple of days, the PR department likes to get out ahead of hot button issues like this.
In May, DCL essentially confirmed they were looking when they told Tribune 242, “Disney Cruise Line does have an interest in furthering its investments in the Bahamas, but at this time did not have anything to share about a specific location“. Then yesterday, DCL told me that “this is a group of local community leaders in South Eleuthera is championing economic development in that area. There is no Disney representation there“.
When DCL said they were no longer looking at Egg Island in June 2016, they essentially confirmed previous rumors DCL is looking for a second private port in the region. The May 2018 statement reaffirmed DCL was still interested in future investments in the region. Then, the response yesterday was simply, there are no official representatives at the town hall.
I am not willing to say Lighthouse Point will be the next private destination. However, I think it is safe to say, DCL is actively considering their options in the region ahead of the launch of the new ships.
Oh I absolutely agree that DCL is looking for a second private destination, as they should be, I just question if they are actually involved in this plan. Nothing about this seems Disney like.
Even the conceptual land use study looks pretty operationally inefficient and doesn’t seem like something Disney would pursue, yes I know it’s a concept draft but usually Disney doesn’t drastically change something from first draft to final product. I also think that every private destination Disney has will have a lagoon type set up like Castaway has.
They backed out of Egg Island due to the backlash from Eleuthera residents, yet they go and look at a new destination in the same area? Seems odd.
Like I said in the last comment, the fact that this rumor has hung around so long does make me think that DCL is involved. They don’t like people throwing their name out randomly.
A member of Parliament’s wife confirmed at the last town hall that Disney is in fact involved in the Lighthouse Point proposal and has seen the proposal with her own eyes, even though as the spouse of a parliament member she probably should not be privy to that info. So yes, it is Disney involved with wanting a cruise port at Lighthouse Point. I am really hoping they back off as it would be devastating in so many ways.
the spouse of a member of parliament confirmed in the last public meeting that she has seen the proposal submitted to the government for Lighthouse Point and it is in fact from Disney.
I will state this with each and every post I make on this blog. I am in utter disgust with this proposal, Disney’s proposed interest in making this a private port and will further add to ANY development that harms the accessibility to Lighthouse Point by the public and destroys such a natural treasure.
As Disney has stated “There is no Disney representation there” (and there meaning AT the town hall meeting where the above handout was passed out) then this whole proposal you see above could be a complete scam on the Eleutheran people. The proposed site plan you see above is STILL a devastation to the island and Lighthouse Point’s ecosystem but dangling carrots of public access and all the other claims in this document could be a straight out lie (if not from Disney and I cannot see how it can be if they claim no representation) and only being used to trick people into supporting major development that WOULD change Lighthouse Point forever.
For anyone reading this blog that wants a very good read on why saving Lighthouse Point is so important, please take the time to read the following:
Agreed DON’T ruin Eleuthera and Lighthouse Point #NODISNEY
To be fair, the owners of the property have it up for sale. Unless someone wants to buy it and leave it as is, it seems very likely that redevelopment of some sort will be happening.
Rosaline, agreed and that is the biggest challenge. There are many people (myself included) who support another organization, One Eleuthera, in the purchase of the land as they propose protection including a National Park. If you are interested, please see the link below:
I agree. It is not a question of will it be developed. It is who will develop it.
I am very skeptical that Disney or DCL is involved in this project. And, I question whether it would bode well for DCL guests if they were. As a long time DCL cruiser, I am much more interested in seeing new cruise itineraries outside of the Bahamas and Caribbean region. Yet, DCL is expanding the terminal in Port Canaveral, so perhaps I am incorrect in all of my view. It also occurred to me that they might be considering a DVC location there, although their real estate development outside of Disneyland and Disney World is not that successful.
I am hopeful that Disney and DCL will clarify their interest in this proposal soon. Clearly, this proposal was not put together by Disney or DCL, but it certainly implies serious discussion with Disney.
Steve the spouse of a member of parliament publicly confirmed that it is Disney as she has seen the proposal that Disney submitted to the Bahamian government. I saw the video of the last Town Hall meeting where she made this statement.
Everything makes perfect sense, need a location that the ship can make Florida overnight. 4 Ships out of Canaveral and 1 out of Miami is overload for CC so another private location could be necessary to continue high occupancy rates on the ships. It is unlikely any of the value locations, those worth creating CC-2 will cause some pushback from people wishing to keep the areas pristine. It seems like verification of DCL involvement when they answered we were not at the meeting, not that they are not involved.
If there is so much emotion about Lighthouse Point, it seems unlike Disney to be involved. Is developing the other side of Castaway Cay to accommodate more cruisers and still keep them “separated” unlikely?
The spouse of a member of parliament confirmed that she has seen the proposal that Disney submitted to the government so yes, Disney is trying to development/ruin Lighthouse Point.
This issue is turning locals against eachother.. it’s very unpleasant and damaging to our community relationships. I really don’t think that is Disneys style or their intentions but it is what’s happening to us here on Island.