UPDATE 10/17/18: The Bahamas Cabinet did not decide the fate of Lighthouse Point on Tuesday as multiple Cabinet members were unable to attend Monday’s meeting. A special session is planned for Friday, October 19, 2018.
We’ve previously shared details regarding Disney Cruise Line’s planning to develop a new island destination in the Bahamas. The company has had its eye on Lighthouse Point, a 700-acre privately owned property that is east of Nassau, farther south than Castaway Cay, and located on the southern end of the island of Eleuthera.
Residents and environmental groups have repeatedly voiced their concern over the harm any development could cause the pristine beach, but a recent survey of 994 households across the country revealed that 38% were “very much” in support of the development, while 26% were not in support of the cruise initiative.
Jeff Vahle, the President of Disney Signature Experiences which includes Disney Cruise Line is doing his best to assure those involved that Disney’s goal is to have “as little impact as possible on the natural environment.”
Opponents of the island’s development would rather see the Bahamian government turn the land into a national park as Disney continues to engage the residents of the island with their pitch of adding 120-150 jobs with the development of the new location.
Disney has reportedly promised to give 170 of the 700-acres back to the Bahamas for conservation while preserving another 100-acres of salt ponds on the property. Vahle also mentioned that only 20% of the land would be tagged for low-density development with the use of items such as beach chairs and umbrellas. Additionally, the property would be open to more than just cruise line guests as a leisure destination, but the southernmost tip of the island property would remain off-limits to Disney visitors.
In an article written for a Bahamian publication, Vahle described the company’s “environmental mitigation efforts such as the use of solar power and constructing an open-trestle pier, which is different than the pier used as Castaway Cay. An open-trestle pier doesn’t block ocean currents as much and would not require much dredging.”
We appreciate the warm welcome we have received from so many in Eleuthera, said Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Signature Experiences that includes Disney Cruise Line. We have approached this project with a focus on protecting and sustaining the natural beauty of this historic location, creating quality economic opportunities for Bahamians and celebrating the culture of the Bahamas. We will continue to talk with and listen to the government and people of the Bahamas as we share our proposal for welcoming guests and Bahamians alike to this special place.
The Bahamian government is reportedly planning on making their decision as early as this week.