Michael S. Meldman
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Discovery Land Company LLC
14605 North 73rd Street
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
CERTIFIED MAIL-RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED
February 18, 2012
Dear Mr. Meldman:
I received, and appreciate, your response to my letter dated January 31, 2012 and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised to receive a reply. However, your letter left me perplexed. My letter was sent imploring your company to look into the algae bloom directly in the area of holes 8 and 9 of your golf course. From your response dated February 14, 2012, I understand it to be that you have no intention of further investigating this issue. I guess I am naïve, because I just cannot imagine that you would allow the Great Guana Cay reef to be smothered by algae and die. Not only is the reef a source of income for the people of Guana Cay, it is a wonderful enticement for prospective homeowners and visitors to Bakers Bay, so much so that you advertise its benefits on your website.
In my letter I purposely did not address the ongoing fight Discovery Land Company/Bakers Bay has had with Save Guana Cay Reef, the lawsuit, or the acrimony with the locals, etc., because at this point it serves no purpose-at least not mine. Discovery Land Company has won in the courts, the development has moved forward, and life as it is, moves on. I was making a simple request to you-to help save the Great Guana Cay reef. I never asked your company to admit culpability-even though that report was compelling-but again, I could care less. My concern is that a very respected scientist (with impeccable credentials) has done a preliminary assessment of the reef…and there is a problem. It is not upstream, it is not downstream. It is specifically in the area of your golf course at holes 8 and 9.
Your letter chose not to directly address my request, rather you chose to defend your position in a fight that I tried to make clear is of no interest to me. My interest is the health of the reef surrounding Great Guana Cay. However, while your letter dated February14, 2012 did not directly address my request, it did make a number of assertions. So while I still implore you to do everything possible to prevent further pollution to the reef, let me address your comments.
You state that the recent allegations your golf course is causing damage to the coral reefs are false. Where are your facts? Where are your reports? Where are your environmental assessments? There are none according to Livingston Marshall. He stated that because of the expense, Bakers Bay stopped monitoring-years ago. The University of Miami has confirmed that they have not been monitoring and have had no connection to Bakers Bay for years. I’ve read that your company agreed to do continuing monitoring before, during and after construction. It has not been done according to Marshall.
You state in your letter that the cause of the algae could be due to recent weather. If that is the case, then why aren’t the control sites originally set up by Dr. Risk suffering the same algae blooms and coral reef disease as around holes 8 and 9 of your golf course? Dr. Goreau’s report is clear in that regard, as is the video.
Your comment that the scientists “entered The Bahamas under false immigration pretenses” is of no merit, at least not to me. Facts, sir, are facts. And the facts are that the algae bloom is in an “area immediately adjacent to a small portion (less than ¼ acre)”-exactly where Dr. Goreau’s report claims the pollution is coming from. Do you have anything to refute this report? According to Livingston Marshall you do not.
As to the boating community, I am well enough informed to know that (1) boats don’t anchor on a reef and (2) if they did, a ton of them would have to had anchored/dumped in exactly the same spot, repeatedly, and (3) the discharge would have had to wash ashore onto your golf course and back into the ocean to cause the algae bloom in the pattern as it exists.
As for the cesspits, there are no cesspits around the problem area. Your golf course is the only possible source of pollution in that area-it is the only possible source. There are no cesspits, there are no homes, there is nothing there but holes 8 and 9 of your golf course in that very small area where the algae bloom exists.
I understand that the course was to be designed to slope away from the Sea of Abaco and the Atlantic Ocean, but I have seen photographs that clearly show your golf course slopes toward the ocean in the problem area, so much so that the sand traps ooze sand onto the beach. Your company agreed to put a vegetative buffer between the golf course and the beach. Again, the photos show that has not been done. Even your Discovery Land Company website photos show clearly that was not done.
Your letter states that you believe Save Guana Cay Reef and three U.S. scientists “oppose Bakers Bay” and that Troy Albury hides behind Save Guana Cay Reef. Anyone familiar with Abaco knows of Troy. Your comments seem to infer something sinister, but those comments have nothing to do with the issue at hand. Mr. Albury’s motives are of no consequence to me, I just don’t care what they are. Nor do I care who is funding (or behind) Save Guana Cay Reef. I don’t care about their motives, nor do I care about their supporters. I do care about hard facts and about the health of the Great Guana Cay reef-and that was the purpose of my letter.
You mention you have “years of monitoring that has been approved and verified by the BEST commission and the Bahamian Government” and that your “scientists come in legally and share data with any group that would request it”. I have to admit, I doubt it. If you had anything to refute the most recent report by Dr. Goreau, I think you would have been waving those reports to the press. Even Livingston Marshall said you stopped monitoring (before the golf course was built). I personally doubt you have anything, however, if I am incorrect, please let me know where I can find that information.
As far as what your company has done “for the Great Guana Cay Community and its well-being”, I ask you this with regard to the final bullet points in your letter, what has your company actually done? You mention “infrastructure and improvements at BBC which can benefit all the residents of Great Guana Cay”. “Can” is a tricky word. If you would have left that word out, the sentence would have an entirely different meaning. Can the locals access these facilities? Is there a police force or a fire force on Guana other than at, and for the benefit of, Bakers Bay? That would be big news in a little island like Guana. I haven’t heard anything of this. That same bullet point goes on to state “The availability of the solid waste transfer station will significantly benefit…”. Again, the word “will” implies it is not currently available. Please correct me if I am wrong in my assumptions.
Now that I’ve addressed your response to my letter, let me again say this: Bakers Bay is a development on Great Guana Cay. Not everyone is happy with that. It is there, it’s a fact and, it could be an attribute to Abaco. In fact, it could end up being a boon to everyone. But Bakers Bay has a problem, and it needs to be addressed. Do it quietly, do it however you want, but you must do it. I beg you to step up, redesign those two holes, plant mangroves, assess if your fertilizers are seeping through the bedrock…find and fix the source of the pollution. But please do not stand by and do nothing. Please don’t do this.
Patricia J. Mulligan
cc: The Abaconian