NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Atlantis President and CEO Audrey Oswell is urging resort workers to raise their voices and take a stand regarding Royal Caribbean International’s $100 million beach club project on Paradise Island .
Reiterating environmental concerns about the development, Oswell in a memo to employees noted that the project’s potential impact on the island’s beaches, marine life and water supply could be devastating if proper environmental controls are not in place. not carefully planned and executed.
Oswell noted that anything that happens on Paradise Island has the potential to impact Atlantis, its guests, and all of its employees. She said station officials have been paying close attention to the project since it was first proposed in 2020.
“The potential impact on our beaches, marine life and water supply could be devastating if the proper environmental controls and practices are not carefully planned and executed. As a leader in tourism in the Bahamas and a longtime guardian of the ocean and its marine life, respect for the environment has become part of our DNA. It is at the heart of who we are and what we do.
Over the past few weeks, there has been heated debate in the media regarding the RCI project. Usually Atlantis does not participate in this type of public dialogue, but we made an exception this time and I want to share the main reasons for our concern and participation in this public dialogue,” Oswell said.
She continued, “We sincerely hope that the review and approval process for this project will develop following all necessary protocols. Unfortunately, this has not yet been our experience to date. Hence the reason for the public alarm. There have been few opportunities for public review of the plans. In 2021, we attended a public presentation of the project, as did several local environmental groups and interested parties.
After the meeting, we submitted a list of questions to RCI and the Environmental Planning and Protection Department (DEPP). To date, none of these questions have been answered. When announcements from Royal Caribbean and the government suggested the project was close to approval in early March, we, along with other members of the Nassau/Paradise Island community, expressed surprise and concern. In response to this wave of caution, Prime Minister Davis assured that the review process, which includes an assessment of the environmental impacts of the project, was still ongoing and would be further investigated. This is great news – and we intend to monitor this process closely.
Oswell pointed out that any expansion of beaches, stilt huts, seawalls, piers or other structures have potentially devastating effects on Paradise Island’s coastline and its beaches.
“Any potential impact on the health of the thriving coral reef on the northern seabed must be carefully considered and mitigated. The desalination and sewage treatment plants needed to service the project – plans call for thousands of bathers each day which could potentially threaten the water source of all of Paradise Island.
“The odors, noise and handling of discharges from these wastewater treatment plants are also of particular concern. Noise from large numbers of people, music, jet skis and other activities and amenities offered at the project site pose potential threats to neighboring homeowners and Atlantis,” Oswell said.
She noted that in addition to the still unanswered environmental questions, many believe that further analysis of the economic impact of the project is needed.
Oswell urged employees to stand up and protect their livelihoods. “I encourage you to share your thoughts with your family and friends. Follow the review process as it unfolds and, if convinced, contribute to the public dialogue.
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