Public Participation in the Planning of a Coastal Reserve in South Africaby Merle Sowman, Univ of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa,
Guy Preston, Univ of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa,
Abstract: The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, an internationally recognised landmark due to its geographic position, historical importance and scenic splendor, is a major attraction for both domestic and foreign tourists. Increased human pressure along the reserve's coastline prompted the reserve managers to appoint a multi-disciplinary team of specialists to prepare a development plan and management guidelines for the reserve. Because of the importance of the reserve as a tourist destination, local recreation site and outdoor education venue, the consultant team resolved to involve the public throughout the planning process. Questionnaire and interview surveys were conducted in the reserve amongst various user groups. Tour operators and guides were also consulted to determine patterns and preferences of visitors. Throughout the planning process, meetings were held with representatives of the recreation users, adjacent communities and special interest groups to present the objectives, guiding principles and preliminary planning proposals for comment. Input from the public provided the consultants with invaluable first-hand information. Where appropriate, plans were modified to meet the needs and address the concerns of the various user groups. Where there were opposing views on certain planning proposals, additional meetings were held with directly affected parties to resolve differences. On completion of the study, the reserve managers, controlling authorities and various user and interest groups were very supportive of the planning proposals submitted by the consultant team. Adoption and implementation of plans are more likely to succeed where there is public support.
Subject Headings: Public participation | Coastal environment | Developing countries | Consulting services | Resource management | Coastal management | Public policy | Managers | Tourism | South Africa | Africa
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