Disney’s Lighthouse Point: Bahamian Government Approves Sale of Lighthouse Point to Disney Cruise Line

Disney is one step closer to calling Lighthouse Point, Disney’s Lighthouse Point after Bahamian Prime Minister announced the government is choosing The Walt Disney Company’s proposal. Today’s approval gives Disney Cruise Line a green light to move ahead plans to purchase the 700 to 800-acre Lighthouse Point property at the tip of South Eleuthera for a second private cruise destination. EyeWitness News reported the decision just before before the 3 o’clock hour.

Below is a copy of the press statement issued by The Bahamas Cabinet.

Press Statement
Cabinet Office
19 October 2018

The Lighthouse Point Development has been the subject of considerable public discussion, particularly in recent months.

The National Economic Council considered the matter today, 19 October, and approved the proposal submitted by Disney Cruise Line Island Development Ltd.

Negotiations will now begin on a Heads of Agreement, which will detail the scope of the project, the obligations of the Disney Cruise Lines Island Development Ltd. and the obligations of the Government of The Bahamas.

The negotiation of the Heads of Agreement will commence immediately. When concluded, it will be presented to Parliament in keeping with the government’s commitment to transparency and accountability.

The Cabinet Office wishes to emphasize that the land which is the subject of the proposal is privately owned. It has been on the real estate market for a long period.

The land is not Crown Land and is not owned by the Government of The Bahamas.

The Disney Cruise Lines Development Ltd. has a sales agreement with the land owner to purchase the land.

The Cabinet Office notes that both the Disney Cruise Lines Island Development Ltd. and the One Eleuthera Foundation and its partners have been publicly noting their plans for the development of Lighthouse Point.

It is also noted that recent polling revealed that more than 60 percent of Bahamians “very much” or “somewhat” support Disney’s proposal for Lighthouse Point, Eleuthera.

The Cabinet Office is also aware of meetings held in the communities of Central and South Eleuthera by respective groups, and live radio broadcasts, which have allowed individuals to express their views.

During one of his regular town hall meetings, this one held at the Green Castle Primary School on 10 October 2018, the Prime Minister informed the people of Central and South Eleuthera of the Government’s plans for the nation and listened to their concerns.

During this meeting overwhelming support was expressed for the Disney Cruise Lines Development Ltd. proposal.

The Cabinet Office notes that prior to that town meeting, the One Eleuthera Foundation and its partners held several community meetings in Central and South Eleuthera to promote their proposal.

This included meetings at Wemyss Bight on 27 July, Deep Creek on 10 August, Tarpum Bay on 17 August, Rock Sound on 31 August and Bannerman Town on 7 September 2018.

Some of the core elements of the Disney Cruise Lines Island Development Ltd. proposal which are of fundamental importance and to which Disney is committed, include: low density development and sustainable design, public access, and the restoration of various historical and cultural sites.

The development will create approximately 150 new jobs and an array of entrepreneurial opportunities for residents of Eleuthera and Bahamians in general.

Disney will convey approximately 190 acres of the land purchased from the private seller to the Government of The Bahamas for conservation and a national park.

Other elements of the project include: the integration of Bahamian cultural and artistic expression into the design of the site and experiences offered, and partnership with the community to develop training and professional development programs.

The Disney Cruise Lines began its cruises to The Bahamas in 1998.

Since that time, the economic impact on the Bahamian economy has been significant. With the development of the Eleuthera project an increase in port calls to Nassau is also projected.

The Government notes Disney’s record of environmental stewardship and will ensure that the project is implemented in a manner which safeguards our environment and the interests of the people of The Bahamas.

The Government of The Bahamas having taken into consideration the views of the majority of the people of Central and South Eleuthera is satisfied that it has made the best decision in the interest of the Bahamian people, a sustainable future for the people of Central and South Eleuthera and the economic development of the country.

I think one of the key factors in the Cabinet’s decision aside from the revenue stream that will be generated by Disney Cruise Line is that the Lighthouse Point property is privately owned. The property has been on the market for a long period. The land is not Crown Land, therefore, is not owned by the Government of The Bahamas. Disney Cruise Line has a sales agreement with the land owner to purchase the land.

What’s next? Disney and The Bahamas will negotiate a Heads of Agreement that will then be presented to Parliament. One Eleuthera’s press release claims there will not be an economic impact until at least 2023.

“We are excited to reach this important milestone and look forward to working with Government and the people of The Bahamas to create new economic opportunities while preserving the natural beauty of Lighthouse Point. We are grateful for the warm welcome and support we have received from so many in Eleuthera and look forward to further developing relationships that will endure for many years to come. In the short term, we are focused on reaching an agreement that is mutually beneficial for The Bahamas and our company, as well as moving forward with an environmental impact assessment and environmental management plan. Our team also looks forward to working with local artists, historians and others as we ensure that the stories and culture of The Bahamas shine through when Disney guests and Bahamians alike visit this special place.” — Jeff Vahle

Disney Cruise Line’s Vice President of Public Affairs, Kim Prunty, told Tribune 242 an environmental impact study (EIA) could take months which Disney will work with the government on this effort. The Bahamas Planning and Subdivisions Act from 2010 requires complete EIA for proposed projects such as Disney’s Lighthouse Point development. The required EIA would be submitted to the Department of Physical Planning as part of the proposed development which is either likely to give rise to significant affects on the environment, of national importance, proposed for sensitive lands, significant in terms of size or complexity, of a nature that may have potentially adverse environmental effects or is considered a development of regional impact.

For more, here is a look at Disney Cruise Line’s proposal and plans for Disney’s Lighthouse Point.

56 thoughts on “Disney’s Lighthouse Point: Bahamian Government Approves Sale of Lighthouse Point to Disney Cruise Line

  1. Ezra Smith

    This is TERRIBLE AWFUL NEWS! Lighthouse beach is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled places in the Bahamas. I’m not anti-Disney, but Disney does NOT belong on Eleuthera. They will have to dredge up huge amounts of coral in order to make room for their ships, it’s inevitable. Plus, the cruise line industry does not benefit local economy at all (I’ve seen it with my own eyes). If Lighthouse Point gets developed into a resort, Bahamians will no longer have access to the beauty of THEIR OWN COUNTRY. All the Bahamians I know like Lighthouse just the way it is. It’s not fair for Disney to take away Lighthouse and turn it into a resort for the privileged elite. Disney, PLEASE DONATE Lighthouse Point and turn it into a World Heritage site, or at least a national park!!

    Reply
    1. Peter Johnson

      Disney isn’t building a resort, they are building a private destination for their ships. They have said time and time again no dredging will happen. Finally, A ton of the land is going back into the public domain, it wasn’t public before

      Reply
      1. Heather

        So a $200 million pier will do not damage whatsoever. No dredging, um ok. We’re not that stupid. Apparently the PM of the Bahamas is, or Disney just greased his pockets

        Reply
        1. Reene

          Don’t be an idiot. You obviously have never cruised before. The ships will drop anchor off shore and the passengers will be taken to the island via small boats. Just like Great Stirrup Cays owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines.

          Reply
    2. Luciana Misura

      Did you read the report or see the proposal? There is no resort, and Disney is giving 190 acres back to the Bahamian government for a national park. There is minimum development proposed, seems like they are following a similar plan to what was implemented in Castaway Cay; and possibly even less development than that with the new type of pier they are proposing.

      Reply
        1. Reene

          So I assume you never use plastic straws, plastic bags and have no trash. You yourself are also bad for the environment. Everyone is! I bet you litter too.

          Reply
          1. HEATHER

            actually renee I do not. I have reusable straws or don’t use one at all and my car is packed with resusable bags which I use at every store I visit. I even bring them with me on vacation every single time. what do you do for the environment? Oh, that’s right, you go on cruises.

    3. Keith

      Bahanians had 10 years to purchase this property and chose not to. Nice try but please save your whining for somewhere else.

      Reply
      1. Heather

        It takes a long time for a grassroots non profit organization to raise enough money to buy that much land. The related group lowered the price, maybe in some back room deal who knows but it was the plan all along for One Eleuthera Foundation to buy it back for Bahamians. Disney beat them to it but nothing about this was fair in terms of how the bahamian government handled it nor how disney presented it. Kim Prunty pissed off ALOT of Bahamians with her threat last week

        Reply
        1. Keith

          My reply still holds: Bahamians had 10 years to purchase this property and chose not to. Nice try but please save your whining for somewhere else.
          Besides with DIsney owning this part of the Island at least it will be clean and well maintained… unlike the parts of the Bahamas where the Bahamians are actually in charge.

          Reply
          1. Heather

            your reply is callous and uncaring. You are just purposefully being mean to those of us who have been to Lighthouse Point and “get it”. You cruisers just want to live in a fantasy. This land should go back to Bahamians. If you would get off your disneyland JO long enough to look at what One Eleuthera Foundation has done you would not make such aggregious comments about Eleutherans.

        2. Reene

          Stop your belly aching lady. The foundation had 10 years, not one, not two but ten. Plus the Bahamians voted for Disney to buy it so they are not nearly as upset as you are.

          Reply
          1. HEATHER

            when was the last time you read a Tribune or Guardian article about this? oh, by the way, those are the national newspapers in the Bahamas. Read the comments.

  2. Sergel

    Disney did talk about eco tourism in an earlier post, so hopefully they keep their word. There is a lot of environmental impact from building a port, but disney seems to do better than other cruise lines.

    Reply
    1. Reene

      I’m sure Disney will do a great job. They have proven over and over that they care about the environment – you can’t even get a plastic bag out of them in their stores. But I bet Heather uses plastic.

      Reply
  3. Chad Pinion

    Looking forward to enjoying the new Island Destination in the next few years. What good is “natural beauty” if no one ever gets to see it. The “Carousel of Progress” keeps on spinning. “it’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow!”

    Reply
    1. Heather

      It’s the #1 beach on Eleuthera dude. All of us land based tourists, who by the way spend way more than you cruisers, get to see it. And still want to see it. This isn’t over

      Reply
        1. Heather

          nice of you to agree with dictating which part of BAHAMIAN territory Bahamians are allowed to visit. What if the Chinese bought Yosemite National Park and told you which part you could visit? There is a proposal on the table that will purchase the land BACK from a foreign entity and return it to BAHAMIANS. ALL of it. OMG have any of you even looked to see what One Eleuthera Foundation has done for the people of Eleuthera??? Infinitely MORE than Disney has done for the island!

          Reply
          1. Jimmy Gandy

            The Bahamian people didn’t own this land. It was not Queensland. It was privately owned and the owner could have closed access at any time in the past. It is no different now, except Disney has pledged to give 190 acres to the Bahamian people and allow access to the Point. And also, Disney has the money to purchase the land, unlike OEF. Heck, I wanted to buy it too! LOL.

          2. Heather

            Jimmy it’s 170 acres and it could be salt pond for all we know. disney has not defined which part they are “giving” back. If you knew the history of this land you would not be making such heartless remarks. IF there was not another option on the table which WOULD return the ENTIRE 700 acres back to Bahamians, sure I’d have no leg to stand on opposing disney but there IS another option. And if disney customers are not going to be allowed on the point, how will Bahamians? will Bahamians have road access to the point or will it only be by boat? Will they have to pay a fee to disney? So many unanswered questions. One Eleuthera Foundation and Lighthouse Point Partners do have the money to purchase the land. Heck, they are hiring Bahamians NOW instead of in 4 or 5 years like disney.

          3. Reene

            Heather you seen to be arguing with everyone. Did you even read the entire report. The residents in the central and south side of the island VOTED for Disney to purchase the land. Yet you keep talking about the Bahamians not being able to use the beach in their own country and yet they voted to let it go. You are the one that does not like losing the beach during your land vacations. This is all about YOU isn’t it. Well, I suggest you take a cruise – it’s a lot of fun.

          4. Reene

            If the foundation had the money than they should have bought the land two or three years ago. The land is privately owned and the owner has the right to sell it to whomever they want. Disney is not stealing the land, they are buying it and they have every right to. I like the others here are not cold heart’d we just do not agree with you.

          5. HEATHER

            renee i have watched every town hall, read every article, so yes I know what I am talking about. What I have”t read yet is the Environmental Impact Assessment, wanna know why? It’s months over-due. Hasn’t been made public.

            A small bubble of people agreed to this who were misled by the local MP Hank Johnson and Denny Rankine. IF PRINCESS CRUISE HAS DONE NOTHING FOR S ELEUTHERA ALL THIS TIME WHAT MAKES DISNEY POOP OUT DOLLARS FOR S ELEUTHERA????

            land-based tourists do way more for the local economy. period. and yes, One Eleuthera was acting with a false sense of security since the land sat for so long but that happens everywhere. Beautiful places are only protected once a threat appears. Can’t fault them for that but before the decision was made by Minnis Mouse to ok the sale, One Eleuthera had the funds to purchase. There were two buyers on the table and Minnis sold out to the mouse instead of a local non profit.

            Oh and I’d rather have a root canal than go on a poo cruise. Never in a million years. I enjoy my Bahamas vacations without thousands of other people.

  4. Keith

    Awesome news! I can’t wait for Disney to start cruising here. Hopefully Dream will start offering Castaway/Lighthouse only cruises so we don’t even need to waste a day in Nassau.

    Reply
    1. Heather

      You really do not get it. Maybe you should just stick with places like the DR where they’ve already sold their soul. The Bahamas does not need you.

      Reply
    2. Reene

      I agree Keith. Castaway Cay is so gorgeous that I would rather be there for a couple of days then visit Nassau. Visiting this island as well will be wonderful.

      Reply
  5. Kevin Burns

    Kudos to Disney for purchasing private land, and donating some of it to the Bahamian government. Kudos to Disney for pledging to incorporate local culture in its development plans (Yes, a broad, undefined pledge, I know; but at least its been stated overtly). Kudos to those seeking employment who will now have additional opportunities that did not previously exist. Kudos to local residents who actively participated in the public parts of this process; and who will hold Disney accountable to terms of the agreement. And finally, kudos to Disney for giving its guests another option for their vacation plans and dollars.

    I’m most curious to see how “public access” plays out in the reality of a new DCL “private destination”. Guests are accustomed to the environment and atmosphere on Castaway Cay. Something different than that may be a hard sell.

    Reply
    1. Heather

      The local Bahamian run proposal would have done all of that and more had the government given them the same chance. I hope you all know how unwanted you’ll be if this does get turned into a port.

      Reply
      1. Jimmy Gandy

        So, when I step off the ship with my crisp dollars ready to hire a local driver to take my family to Rock Sound to swim in Ocean Hole, then on to Ten Bay to find sand dollars and finally drive me back to the port, I will be unwanted? Hardly! The only people who are crying about this are tourists who don’t want to share their private playground.

        Reply
        1. Heather

          SO NOT TRUE. Many Bahamians on Eleuthera and in other islands are VERY upset about this deal being approved by the PM. I just listened to Obie Wilchombe say he is against the proposal. I listen to and read local media and the majority of those comments are anti-disney. And even the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has admitted that the cruise ship tourist spends pennies on the dollar compared to what stay over tourists spend.

          Reply
          1. Reene

            Not true Heather or they would have voted Disney off the table but NO they voted YES. I think Jimmy Gandy has you figured out.

  6. Tomski5421

    To truly understand why it is a travesty, you have had to go there to see the place for it’s unspoiled natural beauty. Unfortunately, that will no longer be possible and now the place will be disneyfied and the magic lost forever. It’s too bad that the local population got bamboozled by promises that will never be fulfilled (management jobs, tourism dollars, etc.). Princess Cay is located very close to this spot and has made little difference in the economy of southern Eleuthera.

    Reply
    1. Alex

      Carnival Corp. doesn’t employ locals, as it is just a beach. Disney uses locals at Castaway and tour operators will get much more from Disney.

      Reply
    2. Keith

      I’ve heard so much about how beautiful it is I really am looking forward to enjoying all of that natural beauty once Disney finishes the preliminary work and begins docking ships there!

      Reply
      1. Heather

        Keith your post is just callous and mean. People with the your mindset do not deserve to experience what Lighthouse has to offer because you will never “get it’

        Reply
  7. Rosaline

    This is such exciting news! I wonder if the new ships sailing out of Port Canaveral will visit Lighthouse Point exclusively or if the Dream and Fantasy will visit as well. I can’t wait to see how this all turns out and to get to visit Lighthouse Point someday in the future!

    Reply
    1. Heather

      Rosaline, the majority of Bahamians are against this. this cruise line IS NOT WANTED by the majority. I guess that doesn’t matter to you since you could be anywhere in the canned experience that is a private cruise port.

      Reply
      1. Rosaline

        I actually do absolutely get it. Real estate and land use is the crux of my 20 year (so far) career. Very often progress is met with resistance, but it happens anyways, and usually to much success and accolades. Especially if a company like Disney and a deal such as this is involved. Question for you – if you hate cruising and despise cruisers, why are you here on a DCL page criticizing and insulting those of us that are genuinely excited to see what DCL does with this project?

        Reply
        1. Heather

          I am not against progress. I am against the same old cruise model that has been in place for decades that does so little for the economy yet takes so much of the Bahamas natural resources. There is a much more sustainable option out there. We just want people to understand that this cruise port will not benefit Eleutherans as much as the alternate option with One Eleuthera Foundation and the Lighthouse Point Partners would benefit them.

          Reply
  8. Heather

    Kate that’s like saying I’m excited to shop at the super Walmart they just built in your back yard. The Prime Minister of the Bahamas went against the majority of Bahamians when he ok’d this project.

    Reply
    1. Rosaline

      Heather, Unfortunately not one of your comments here is going to change anything, other than you being disagreeable for disagreeability’s sake. This is a DCL blog and those of us who enjoy Disney and DCL are very excited about this new opportunity. Your comments would be better directed towards the Prime Minister of Bahamas and the head of DCL. Although, I’m fairly certain that in ten years time, this will be a done deal, that it’s going to look amazing and have some incredible features and that it will be very popular with DCL guests and likely even with the Bahamians as well.

      Reply
  9. Devil’s Cay

    Hurricane will have the last laugh. It’s in the south tip with nothing to protect it. Nature always has it’s way in the end.

    Reply
  10. Below

    I have fond memories of family trips to Lighthouse Point. It was a trip that required a lot of planning and a caravan of cars with food and tents in case we got stuck or stranded. It was an exciting trip for us youngsters. The reward for dodging 40 miles of potholes on the main road and crawling the final mile through a rough hack of brush and coral was having the very end of the island and most pristine beach to ourselves. Throughout my childhood there were always rumors that some company or another would buy the property and keep us locals out. It never happened and I figured it never would. I’m sad the government has no respect for our treasure than to sell it to the highest bidder. In my youth I saw many developments come and go on Eleuthera. They never seem to stay and the island will always claim back what they took.

    Reply
  11. Kelly

    In regards to the comments bashing Heather recently…you selfish fools. I cannot begin to express my disdain for your inability to see her point of view. So…take some time to ponder something you all seem to know well…yourselves. Imagine the most beautiful place you have ever seen in nature, so majestic, so encompassing and so spiritual. I would like to think you all have that place…whether it be a childhood memory or a vacation that has touched your soul. Now imagine someone altering it to the point of no return…no longer what you remember…no longer something to share with your children. If you do not have such an example, imagine the plastic world of Disney World crumbling to ground…how would THAT make you feel? This is coming from someone who once loved Disney with all my heart…no longer. The people that fight to save Lighthouse Point (myself included) ONLY want to save something that is precious and quickly dying in this world…natural beauty that benefits us all as untouched as possible. If it must be developed, as she had said, let it be something that is sustainable, eco-friendly AND actually economically viable for the South Eleutherans. THIS is NOT. Studies prove that cruise tourism does not compare to stay over tourism. South Eleutherans were either paid off or more likely lied to. They could have done so much better with One Eleuthera’s plan to keep the profits in the hands of the Bahamians AND protect a piece of their heritage. But they are starving and look to big corporation entities that sound good but historically have done NOTHING to help them.This is directly the fault of the Bahamian Government for selling their own souls. I truly cannot blame Disney for wanting this land…who wouldn’t? However, I DO blame Disney for sucking up a marine rich land that was proposed to be a Marine Protected Area and planning to truly destroy what it is today…a piece of land that is UNESCO worthy…national park worthy. Disney could benefit this world by rehabilitating another location. They have the means to do so. BUT they won’t…they will just promise some of it and then destroy the rest.

    Reply
  12. Jimmy

    Kelly, I’m not sure why you’re so angry at Disney. They only did what anyone with finances can do, they exercised their right to purchase a piece of private property that was on the open market. In contrast, One Eleuthera foundation claimed to have the money to purchase the property, but did not. OEF had 10 years to ”save lighthouse point”, but decided to keep their donated money in their pockets instead of doing the work they claim to want to do.

    The ”fools” you speak of in your post maybe those who believe one Eleuthera foundation ever had any intentions of ”saving lighthouse point”.

    I am actually very angry at one Eleuthera foundation because they did not protect lighthouse point. As a frequent visitor to Eleuthera and to lighthouse point ( I was there 6 months ago), I am mourning the loss of what is the most beautiful place on earth I’ve ever seen. One Eleuthera foundation knew of the previous plans that were approved by the Bahamian government for lighthouse point which included dredging the saltpond and cutting a canal to the Atlantic Ocean to provide a megayacht harbor. Yet for the 10 years this property was for sale, they did nothing but collect donations. Your anger should be pointed at OEF!! Disney’s plans are much less destructive and I think they will balance their needs with the environment. Or so I hope.

    Reply
    1. Kelly

      @Jimmy – I want to get my persective straight on the points you made and thank you for making them.

      The “fools” I speak of are the ones with little empathy for Heather’s point of view and the ones on the attack of her passion to save a place which many of us want to save.

      Second, yes, I have anger towards Disney…they could easily, with their abundant wealth, rehabilitate another location. They could send a message of environmental protection by rehabilitation over turning a majestic place on this earth into their latest theme park. I am a firm believer in capitalism, HOWEVER, I personally believe capitalism needs boundaries…none of us should be able to destroy whatever we wish just because we have the funds to do so. How much more does Disney need? They have more money than any of us can even wrap our arms around. There is a level of responsibility that comes with wealth and I think this is a very irresponsible and greedy decision on behalf of Disney. Last on the point of Disney…where in the world is the EIA? Both the government and Disney have stated it would be made public…MONTHS ago. Yet they can proceed with the planning and construction without it being transparent?!?

      Please know, though, that my deepest anger goes towards the government of the Bahamas. THEY are ultimately to blame for approving the sale and overlooking one of their own to blaze the path and protect Bahamian heritage. As I said, I cannot blame Disney for wanting the land…but I do feel they could do so much better. The current Bahamian Government that made this decision, I can only hope that they are voted out in 2022.

      Last, maybe you know more about One Eleuthera than I but I have a deep respect for all that they do. As for the timeframe of you speak of (10 years ago) when The Related Group owned the land, yes…there were plans for a development that was just as obnoxious. However, didn’t it take some time for One Eleuthera to raise the funds? Was there some insight at this time that their plans would never come to fruition? I do not have the answers but I DO BELIEVE that One Eleuthera did obtain the funding to compete against Disney in 2018, they DID ultimately come up with a sustainable plan (back in 2013) AND outside of the Lighthouse Point endeavors…have PROVEN that they are for the benefit of not only Eleutherans but of ALL Bahamians. They do not have the wealth of Disney, so I respect all they have possibly had to do to get the funds and the time it took to do so. I also respect that their money had to go to other things prior to the Disney interest (like bringing the first EMT vehicles onto Eleuthera or job training or providing entrepreneurial loans and funding) and then when push came to shove, they acted as quickly as I think they could to compete. Again, please think how hard it is for a non-profit in a Caribbean nation to work quickly against HUGE corporate entities that are for profit and with so many more resources and wealth at their disposal. I cannot even imagine.

      I respect your standpoint, Jimmy, I truly do and I am also mourning (along with you) the potential loss of Lighthouse Point. I still have hope that it can be saved.

      Reply

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