Town Hall Meeting Held to Discuss Potential Development of Lighthouse Point

Last week in Rock Sound Eleuthera, a town hall was held to discuss potential development of Lighthouse Point. According to a story by Eye Witness News, the town hall was hosted by a local representative from the “Disney Group”, Denny Rankine, but did not include any actual representatives from the local government or Disney.

A full video of the meeting was not available leaving us with just a few bits of information shared by Rankine from his notes:

  • Disney will not bar locals from access to Lighthouse Point which has been high on the list of residents’ concerns.
  • Disney estimated it will create 120 – 150 jobs to operate the destination – over 100 jobs created for the construction.
  • Disney has conducted a preliminary review and they have committed to completing a thorough environmental impact assessment.
  • Disney has not yet bought the property, it is still owned by foreigners.

It was unclear based on the video if the “Disney Group” has any official ties to Disney. So, I reached out to Disney Cruise Line to determine if Mr. Rankine is speaking as an official local representative of Disney on any potential development projects or if the “Disney Group” mentioned in the video is just a local group. Kim Prunty, Vice President, Communications (Disney Cruise Line & Signature Experiences) & Global External Comms (Disney Parks) 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.

In May 2018, an article posted by Tribune 242 tied Disney Cruise Line to Lighthouse Point.

UPDATE: Handout reveals details of the proposed site development…

13 Replies to “Town Hall Meeting Held to Discuss Potential Development of Lighthouse Point”

  1. Kristel

    No comment on how much they’ll destroy the environment first and then ask forgiveness afterwards? From
    – Disney “… ruined the natural habitat and it was also illegal, as they did not get permission to do so. ”
    When the strong currents off Lighthouse Point fill back in the channels they dredge thru the reef, will they abandon it like they did at Guana Cay (after the damage is done)?

    Will this be like other Disney and cruise ship ports where they promise jobs up front and do hire that many (maybe) and then as time goes by there are less and less locals employed (but hey, at least they met their promise… originally). Also, from Disney’s mouth in – “) locals employed as sanitation workers are concealed behind plastic screens with “No Guests” signs. “Contact … is disturbing to our passengers.””
    Eleuthera does not want Disney… some government officials (who are probably getting financial kick backs may say otherwise, but 16000 signatures on and the local voices being heard… say otherwise.

    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Technically, the quote you are attributing to Disney was from a Royal Caribbean diving instructor.

      Text from the linked article:
      locals employed as sanitation workers are concealed behind plastic screens with “No Guests” signs. “Contact”, once explained a Royal Caribbean diving instructor to a researcher, “is disturbing to our passengers.”

      Source of the quote in linked article:
      An island with no Caribbean people living on it is “the best of the Caribbean”, offering “the total experience that can be found in the West Indies”. There is no clutter, and above all no hassle. As a Royal Caribbean instructor at Labadee puts it, “It’s super-cheap, it’s pretty, and there’s minimal contact. Contact is disturbing to the passengers” (Orenstein 1997). Indeed, the “islanders” at Disney’s Castaway Cay are hired through casting calls, and hail from as far away as Australia (Sloan 1998); the small number of Bahamian employees are primarily “sanitation workers”. Disney dredged sand from the bay and then ground it up further to make the island’s beaches conform to a touristic image of Edenic perfection (Antoni 1999). Freed of spontaneous contact and experiences, these care-fully-planned and artificially-created environments are said to take cruise passengers back to the real, authentic Caribbean–one that existed 30 years ago but no longer exists except in reconstructed form on these fantasy islands.

  2. kristyemac

    I beg of Disney to not destroy Lighthouse Pointe with your fun and games. A good idea for Disney might be to purchase and donate back to this beautiful island for future preservation. Wouldn’t that be great PR? This is one if the few uncommercialized inhabited islands in the Bahamas. Lighthouse Pointe has a fabulous ecosystem in place with unspoiled beauty. The people if Eleuthera and respectful visitors have kept it that way. What a nightmare to think that Disney plans to destroy it by unloading shiploads if tourists on its beach to destroy the reefs and and surrounding landscape. Please, Disney….find yourself a small uninhabited island to spend your big bucks on to destroy. Shame on Disney and it’s uncaring brass. Disney used to be a positive influence in our children and this does nothing but teach them that money talks and it’s ok to destroy the environment as long as people spending happy money. Shame on Disney!

  3. Kelly Arkles

    First of all, I am utterly against this development. This development would FOREVER change the landscape and ecosystem of such a pure untouched area of the planet. Lighthouse Point should be protected NOT developed.

    Second of all, Disney states that there was no representation by Disney at that meeting, There was a document handed out to the attendees of that meeting outlining Disney’s plans. Wouldn’t that document itself be a representation by Disney? Is that document legit or is that document a bunch lies given by the handful of Disney supporters to woo Disney and what is the benefit to those supporters by doing so? If Disney claims no representation then no one should believe the proposal laid out to them that evening. No one should believe that Disney has any intention of providing any form of public access to that area. No one should believe that they have any intentions of low density development, a focus on conservation, a commitment to the community nor a claim to celebrate culture.

    This is all just wrong.

    One Eleuthera has outlined, WITH representation in their meetings, in the media and on their site, their desire and plans to protect that area. Over 16,000 signatures (to date) are on a petition to save Lighthouse Point (just check the link provided by Shane above) and that number is growing every hour. The majority, I believe, desperately DO NOT WANT this. Myself included and wholeheartedly. LEAVE LIGHTHOUSE POINT ALONE, Disney!

      1. Kelly Arkles

        I saw the document on various Facebook posts (you can search for the organization, B.R.E.E.F., as one of their posts has it). However, maybe request the document from the organizers of the town hall meeting who handed it out? Or Disney?

  4. Charly Wiliamse

    You helped me so much as a writer’s conference newbie with the same advice you just wrote. And when I was a college journalism major, our prof told us the same for newspaper writing. Thanks!


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