Dozens of Biminites are expected to turn out for a town hall meeting Thursday, June 15 to review ongoing environmental concerns and map a way forward for the future of the island in the northern Bahamas.
The town hall, organized by Waterkeepers Bahamas in conjunction with environmental advocacy group Save The Bays, will feature several prominent presenters, including the Hon. Pakesia Parker Edgecombe, MP, West End and Bimini, Save The Bays director of legal affairs Fred Smith, QC, Dive-master Neal Watson II, and representatives from both the Ministry of Environment and Resorts World Bimini.
The meeting, open to the public, is set for Louise McDonald High School at 7 pm and will include light refreshments.
Concerns about Bimini’s environment surfaced in 2014 when RAV and Resorts World Bimini (RWB) brought in massive dredging equipment that observers said destroyed some of the world’s most famous coral reefs to make way for a ferry dock to deliver guests from a Florida port right to RWB’s door.
Spokespersons for the resort said the development would provide jobs and boost the Bimini economy. Environmentalists said the destruction of reefs once teeming with tropical fish was irreparable and the resort could have been built with more attention to Bimini’s famous fishing grounds.
“We have always said you do not have to choose between the environment and the economy,” said Joe Darville, chairman of Save The Bays. “You can develop with care and by preserving the environment that made that destination desirable to begin with, you can enhance the beauty that nature provided and preserve it for future generations. We are very eager to hear what the good people of Bimini have to say and we are going into this town hall meeting with an open mind and a willingness to assist in compiling ideas and developing a strategy for how best to move this little island with so much underwater beauty forward.”
The town hall will also feature a short video and a public brainstorming session.