Wind energy landscapes, place attachment and tourism in the Route 27/West Coast Region of South Africa

Lombard, Andrea (2013-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The West Coast Region (WCR) of the Western Cape Province in South Africa is earmarked for at least 13 windfarm developments. These proposed developments represent an investment in and a movement towards cleaner and alternative ways of energy generation. All developments that will alter the environment or landscape are usually received with some sort of opposition. The aim of this study was to determine whether or not the presence of wind turbines in the form of wind farms will have any affect on the sense of place of insiders of (residents) and outsiders (visitors) to the West Coast Region, the insiders’ attachment to their natural landscapes and the outsiders’ experiences of the region. In the context of multiple issues arising from a very complex discourse around the possible effects that the proposed windfarms are perceived to have in the WCR, this study approached the research topic from three perspectives of inquiry: (1) windfarms and people’s place attachment; (2) windfarms and landscape aesthetic and function interference; and (3) windfarms and its effect on tourism. The study area includes 15 towns of three subregions of the WCR, namely the Swartland, West Coast Peninsula and Bergrivier subregions. The research objectives are seven fold, namely (1) to establish a solid base and understanding of the concepts and constructs related to wind energy, landscape aesthetics and place attachment; (2) to review appropriate case studies reported in the international literature and apply relevant methodologies in this study; (3) investigate theories, types and models of public decision making to explore the degree to which these could be applied to windfarm support or objection in the WCR; (4) to critique current policies in windfarm establishment and discover whether and how these shape social objection to or support for windfarm development in the WCR; (5) to establish the perceptions and attitudes relating to wind turbines of three groups of actors (tourism industry, tourists and residents) in the WCR by conducting questionnaire surveys in 15 West Coast towns and villages and interpret these views in relation to the impacts of wind turbines on the local landscape; (6) to determine the insiders’ place attachments to the WCR, whether the presence of wind turbines will affect these attachments and whether their attachments influence decisions to support or oppose the proposed windfarm developments; and (7) to assess the extent to which the presence of wind turbines will affect the tourism value of the region. Primary data was further strengthened by semi-structured interviews, informal conversations and observation at public participation and specialized group meetings. Data was analysed using SPSS, Excel and ArcGIS. The findings indicate that respondents are concerned with issues related to the sustainability of the natural environment and that the residents of the WCR possess a strong sense of attachment to the region, but no clear indication was found that their place attachment serve as a reason for their opposition to the proposed windfarm developments. Although the support for windfarm development decreases from a national to a regional level and to the local level of in or close to the towns in which respondents reside, their opposition to windfarm development in the region cannot only be regarded as simple not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) attitudes. Seventy-five per cent of the respondents regard the physical landscape of the WCR as very special, but would still support the development of windfarms in the region indicating that the respondents do not believe the construction of wind turbines in the WCR landscapes will influence the special character of landscapes negatively. There is no indication presently that the tourism industry would be affected negatively by windfarm development in the region as both residents and visitors do not believe that windfarms deter tourists from visiting certain areas and more than 90% of visitors indicated they would return to the WCR after a number of windfarms have been developed. It is recommended that a post-development impact study be conducted to determine the attitudes toward windfarm development in the WCR following the deployment of wind turbines.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Weskus-streek in die Wes-Kaap provinsie van Suid-Afrika word geoormerk vir ten minste 13 windplaas ontwikkelinge. Hierdie voorgestelde ontwikkelinge verteenwoordig ‘n belegging in en ‘n beweging na skoner en alternatiewe maniere van energieopwekking. Alle ontwikkelinge wat die omgewing of landskap sal verander word gewoonlik ontvang deur ‘n mate van teenkanting. Die doel van hierdie studie was om te bepaal of die teenwoordigheid van windturbines in die vorm van windplase enige invloed op die plekbewustheid van inwoners van en besoekers aan die Weskus-streek, hulle gehegdheid aan die streek se natuurlike landskappe en besoekers se ervarings van die streek sal uitoefen. Binne die konteks van verskeie kwessies met hul oorsprong vanuit ‘n baie komplekse diskoers rondom die moontlike effekte wat vermeen word die voorgestelde windplase op die Weskus-streek sal hê, benader hierdie studie die navorsingsonderwerp vanuit drie navraagsperspektiewe: (1) windplase en mense se plekgehegdheid; (2) windplase en landskap estetiese en funksie steuring; en (3) windplase en die effek daarvan op toerisme. Die studie area sluit 15 dorpe uit drie substreke van die Weskus-streek in, naamlik die Swartland, Weskus Skiereiland en Bergrivier substreke. Die navorsingsdoelwitte is sewevoudig, naamlik (1) om ‘n konseptuele basis en verstaan van konsepte en konstrukte geassosieerd met windenergie-opwekking, landskap estetika en plekgehegdheid te kweek; (2) om toepaslike gevallestudies te hersien en sommige relevante metodologie vir die studie aan te wend; (3) om teorieë, tipes en modelle van publieke besluitneming te ondersoek ten einde te bepaal tot watter graad dit aangewend kan word tot windplaasondersteuning of teenkanting in die Weskus-streek; (4) om kritiek te lewer op huidige beleide van windplaasontwikkeling en te ontdek tot watter mate en hoe dit sosiale teenkanting of ondersteuning van windplaasontwikkeling in die Weskus-streek vorm; (5) om die persepsies en houdings van drie groepe deelnemers (die toerisme industrie, toeriste en inwoners) in die Weskus-streek te bepaal deur vraelysopnames in 15 Weskus dorpe te doen en hierdie sienings in verhouding met die impakte van windturbines op die plaaslike landskap te interpreer; (6) om die inwoners se plekgehegdheid tot die Weskus-streek te bepaal en of die teenwoordigheid van wind turbines hierdie gehegdheid sal affekteer en of hul gehegdheid besluitneming rakende die ondersteuning vir, of teenkanting teen, windplaasontwkkeling beïnvloed; en (7) om te bepaal tot watter mate die teenwoordigheid van windturbines die toerisme waarde van die streek sal affekteer. Primêre data is verder versterk deur semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude, informele gesprekke en waarneming by publieke deelname sessies en gespesialiseerde groepsvergaderings. Data is ontleed deur middel van SPSS, Excel en ArcGIS. Daar is bevind dat respondente besorg is oor kwessies rondom die volhoubaarheid van die natuurlike omgewing en dat die inwoners van die Weskus-streek ‘n sterk gehegtheid aan die streek het, maar geen definitiewe aanduiding is gevind dat hulle gehegdheid aan die streek as ‘n behoorlike rede vir hul teenstand teen die voorgestelde windplase aangevoer kan word nie. Alhoewel ondersteuning vir windplase afneem vanaf nasionaal na streeksvlak en die plaaslike vlak van binne of naby die dorp waar respondente woon, kan teenkanting teen die ontwikkeling van windplase in die streek nie slegs eenvoudig as ‘n nie-in-my-agterplaas houding (NIMAP) beskou word nie. Vyf-en-sewentig persent van die respondente ag die fisiese landskap van die Weskus-streek as baie spesiaal, maar ondersteun steeds windplaasontwikkeling in die streek wat aandui dat die respondente nie van mening is dat die oprigting van windturbines in die Weskus-streek landskappe die spesiale karakter van hierdie landskappe negatief sal beïnvloed nie. Daar is tans geen aanduiding dat die toerismebedryf negatief deur windplaasontwikkeling beïnvloed sal word nie aangesien beide inwoners en besoekers aangedui het dat hul nie van mening is dat windplase toeriste sal verhinder om sekere areas te besoek nie. Negentig persent van besoekers het aangedui dat hul steeds sal terugkeer na die Weskus-streek ná die ontwikkeling van ‘n aantal windplase. Dit word aanbeveel dat ‘n ná-ontwikkeling impakstudie onderneem word om die houdings jeens windplaasontwikkeling in die Weskus-streek ná oprigting van die turbines te ondersoek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/79872
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