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Atlantis chief calls for Bahamas to reconsider Royal Beach Club

The president of Atlantis Paradise Island has raised concerns about the impact of Royal Caribbean's planned Beach Club
Audrey Oswell, president & managing director of Atlantis Paradise Island, is urging the Bahamas to take a closer look at Royal Caribbean's planned Royal Beach Club.

Oswell called on the public to petition the government to 'put on the brakes and follow through on a serious examination of the impact this proposed project will have on our environment and our businesses.'

On Wednesday, Royal Caribbean said it got the government's green light to open its first Royal Beach Club at Paradise Island, with plans for the 17-acre project to begin receiving cruisers in 2025. 

Environmental concerns

In a statement, Oswell alleged 'potentially devastating impacts to the Paradise Island coastline and the pristine beaches with any expansion of beach areas, overwater cabanas, seawalls, jetties or other structures.' She particularly cited concerns about potential impact to the thriving coral reef at the north seabed.

Oswell also said the impact of additional boat traffic in Nassau harbor to ferry guests, supplies, employees and other support service workers has not been adequately addressed.

Further concerns by the Atlantis chief pertain to desalination and wastewater treatment, emergency services/evacuation for large numbers of people using the Beach Club and the privatization of Paradise Island's last public beach.

Lost business downtown?

'The proposed beach project would assure that thousands of RCI visitors to Paradise Island will bypass our downtown, negatively impacting merchants, restaurants and other venues that rely on tourism,' Oswell asserted.

In taking her stance, Oswell is challenging one of Atlantis Paradise Island's major customers since Royal Caribbean sends many cruisers to the attraction on excursions.

Government plans environmental impact assessment

Bahamas Tourism Minister Chester Cooper told Eyewitness News his ministry is aware of Atlantis’s concerns and assured the project will be 'vetted properly.' Cooper also said the project's approval is subject to an environmental impact assessment and an environmental management plan, and Department of Environmental Planning and Protection is aware of the questions raised by Atlantis and remains satisfied these will be addressed as a part of the normal process.

Seatrade Cruise News reached out to Royal Caribbean for reaction, and the company initially said it would be commenting but did not end up doing so.