(Eleuthera, Bahamas) Egg Island, a small island and natural sanctuary for myriad wildlife near Royal Island off of the North Eleuthera coast, has garnered heated attention recently, since locals from Spanish Wells on neighboring St. George’s Cay got wind of the possibility of a major development there, rumored to be linked to Disney Cruise Lines.
Photos taken around Egg Island on Saturday July 16th, 2016 show drilling equipment in the crystal clear water, just off the island. A couple were also seen on the island having an apparent picnic. ( Google Map of The Location)
Holly Peel (pictured right), a local resident from Spanish Wells, who is spearheading an effort to stop the large development on Egg Island, including the gathering of hundreds of local signatures on a petition, said that they are also writing letters to the Prime Minister, as well as the Minister of the Environment & Housing and the BEST Commission, and encouraging other people who would like to see the island preserved for future generations to do the same.
[The petition to support the campaign may be found online at: https://www.change.org/p/saveeggisland-gmail-com-save-egg-island-bahamas-stop-disney-cruise-line-preserve-egg-island-saveeggisland. It was launched less than one week ago, and has already garnered in excess of 1,100 signatures.]
“My ultimate goal for this petition”, explained Holly, “is to get government to recognize how significant that (Egg Island) is, to stop Disney, and to preserve Egg Island for the future of Bahamians. To preserve it in a way that recently happened in Abaco with three parks they have there. They preserved it to protect it from future large developments. They are not like the park in Exuma, which is fabulous, but you can’t fish in it or conch in it – you just look at it, and it’s amazing. However, the parks in Abaco – you can legally fish and conch in them, once you are abiding by the laws of the Bahamas, you can still enjoy it. This (Egg Island) is just screaming protect us, preserve us, this is it. If you see it, you have no choice but to be passionate about it.”
Touting the importance of the island to surrounding areas, Mrs. Peel commented, “It (Egg Island) has served this community (Spanish Wells), and I’m sure North Eleuthera, Harbour Island and other surrounding communities. It is a place where you can go and respectfully enjoy. Egg Island represents some of the best of the Bahamas, with juvenile conchs, juvenile fish, it’s known for nesting endangered turtles, seabirds, abundant sea life on the coral reef – everything. It’s an eco-system completely self-sustained there. Disney is here taking core samples of the undersea ground for a proposed cruise port as there is in Castaway Cay, Abaco – and that’s devastating.”
She continued, “It’s going to be 3,000 to 5,000 people on that island. Spanish Wells’ population is only 1,600 people. The dump on Russell Island that serves Spanish Wells can hardly handle 1,600 people, so think about what that would do to Egg Island, along with the dredging, because there would be substantial dredging – as we’ve heard bits and pieces from some town council officials that know a little bit about the proposed plans there… There is also a huge pond on Egg Island, which serves as a nursery for an abundance of wildlife. We walked there the other day and saw baby conch, baby stingrays – the seabirds are everywhere, there are turtles on the south beach that are known to nest there. You can’t go to Egg Island and not see turtles, and that is going to be gone, because proposed plans are to dredge that pond, also to dredge between Little Egg Island and Big Egg Island. We don’t know the true plans, but it’s devastating to this island (Spanish Wells on St. George’s Cay), devastating to North Eleuthera, and the Bahamas in general, because that (Egg Island) is what the Bahamas is.”
According to Mrs. Peel, snippets of activity have been witnessed by locals during the past two years, saying, “Apparently, it has been known by some people that Disney has been here surveying up to maybe two years ago, which I did not hear, but this all kicked off about two months ago when a huge piece of equipment was sitting on the dock in Spanish Wells. There was silence – no information from the town council or local government – nothing. Now the machinery is out by Egg Island, and it is known – public knowledge now – that Disney’s company or contractors are doing the work out there – dredging for the core samples below sea ground. I went out there (Egg Island) with my husband recently, and you could hear it rattling the earth. Just devastating news.”
Representative for North Eleuthera, Theo Neilly, who visited the Egg Island location on Saturday, July 16th, commented that he would bring the petition and letters from his concerned constituents to the attention of the Prime Minister, as early as the coming week, during a scheduled meeting.