NASSAU, Bahamas, Tuesday July 26, 2016 – There will be no Disney cruise ship terminal on Egg Island in the Bahamas after all.
The company has announced it has scrapped the controversial plan because impact studies have suggested the island’s marine environment could not sustain such a huge development.
Disney Cruise Line had been planning to develop the 12-acre uninhabited islet off North Eleuthera. Prime Minister Perry Christie administration had acknowledged some exploratory work was taking place, but stressed that no development had been approved and would not be without the relevant assessments.
But the Disney plan faced stiff opposition, including protests, from some residents – particularly those in the neighbouring district of Spanish Wells on the Bahamian island of St. George’s Cay.
They had insisted that the development would have damaged precious coral reefs. That, they argued, would have been counterproductive to Disney’s conservation efforts in another Bahamian island, Castaway Cay, where it launched a coral restoration programme.
Disney now appears to agree.
“We regularly look for opportunities for growth, some of which we pursue and others that we don’t. We recently completed a careful and thorough review of a project at Egg Island and determined that the environmental impact of our intended development would be too significant,” Disney Cruise Line spokeswoman Kim Prunty said in a statement.
The decision has been applauded by conservation groups, including the Bahamas National Trust (BNT).
President Larry Glinton said the group was pleased to see that “corporate and national environmental objectives are not mutually exclusive” and that Egg Island would remain in its natural state.
“This indicates that Disney has taken their commitment to coral reef conservation seriously,” added BNT Executive Director Eric Carey.