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Disney’s Expansion Plan Hits a Major Snag

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Talk to anyone who has ever visited Castaway Cay, the private island owned by Disney Cruise Line, and they will rave about the gorgeous Bahamian island. Not surprisingly, the company has been looking to develop a second property… but their latest plans may have hit a bit of a snag.

According to the Miami Herald, news that Disney might be looking to turn all or part of Egg Island, located at the north end of Eleuthera, into a second resort, has some folks up in arms. Owned by the Bahamian government, the island had previously been leased to an individual family. Upon the death of that clan’s patriarch, it was reportedly returned to the government. But last month, a drilling rig arrived and began scooping up samples of the seabed, indicating someone was looking to develop the area.

A petition has been filed.

Attorney Holly Peel from Spanish Wells, an island within the vicinity of the one being developed, filed a petition to try and prevent the development… or at least get more information. “We’re in the dark and finding out more and more,” she told the paper. Locals have been told that a Disney contractor had been issued a temporary license allowing them to do exploratory work, but little more. “Egg Island is a community place. Everything that the Bahamian government wants to save, Egg Island is a perfect example of that harmony.” She went on to make, seemingly unironically, a Disney reference. “The circle of life is going on and on there,” she continued, “and it’s just jaw-droppingly amazing!”

Preliminary plans are in place.

The Herald quotes Spanish Wells Deputy Chief Councilor Robert Roberts as saying, “We know it’s going to be a cruise ship terminal port… they just do not know exactly how they’re going to go about it until they have the core reports. They have a layout in mind on the island, but they don’t know if they have a plan for where to put berthing or how much dredging to do.”

A similar controversy arose during the early days of Castaway Cay’s development, due to the blasting of coral which had to be done in order to facilitate a dock. Disney felt it important that the ship be able to dock at the island as opposed to having passengers take tenders, although this process is used by several other cruise lines when visiting their private islands.

Via both a Facebook page and a Change.org petition (which, as we wrote this piece, had nearly 2,500 supporters), locals are hoping to stop Disney from moving forward with their plans. “Environmental security and protection is of utmost importance if we are to be stewards of God’s beautiful gift to all of us,” wrote petitioner Brown-Papadopoulo Philippa of Spanish Wells.

Should Disney be allowed to develop Egg Island for a second private resort?

Featured photo: Castaway Cay – Anthony via Flickr

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