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.

37 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
    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
    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. 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
  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.

  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
  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
  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

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