NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the multimillion-dollar Lighthouse Point cruise port development is expected to be released to the public “in a matter of weeks”, said Director of the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection Rochelle Newbold yesterday.
During a Ministry of Environment press conference, Newbold said officials are still in the process of finalizing the document.
“Once that document is completed, it will be out online for the public to review and to give comment on,” she said.
“The placement of the document online does not indicate finalization of the document but it does conclude a discussion between the technical persons of Disney and ourselves to make sure we have captured all of the issues.”
Newbold noted input from the public is a necessary part of the process.
“You will see that within a matter of weeks as that whole…process comes to a close,” she said.
The government signed a heads of agreement with DCL for the project on March 7. The cruise port is expected to cost between $250 million and $400 million.
Among its commitments for the project, DCL has said that it will develop less than 20 percent of the property, employ sustainable building practices, establish environmental monitoring programs during construction and operation and donate more than 190 acres of the privately-owned land to the government for conservation and public use.
According to Disney Cruise Line, construction will begin on the site after the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan are accepted by the government, public consultation has occurred, and all other necessary government permits and approvals have been granted.
Environmentalists aiming to stop the controversial development slated for Lighthouse Point, South Eleuthera, have launched the “Stop Disney – Last Chance for Lighthouse Point” digital campaign against the project.
As of yesterday, the petition had garnered nearly 320,000 signatures of its 500,000 signature goal.