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DRAFT 2 VISUAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT PROPOSED LANDSCAPING OF ESKOM LEEUWBOSCH SUBSTATION PROJECT April 2014 Document prepared on behalf of: Landscape Dynamics Environmental Consultants 6 La Hey Close Steynsrust Somerset West 7130

Visual Resource Management Africa cc PO Box 7233, George, 6531 Tel: +27 44876 0020/ Fax: +27 86 653 3738 Cell: +27 83 560 9911 E-Mail: steve@vrma.co.za Web: www.vrma.co.za


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All intellectual property rights and copyright associated with VRM Africa’s services are reserved, and project deliverables, including electronic copies of reports, maps, data, shape files and photographs, may not be modified or incorporated into subsequent reports in any form, or by any means, without the written consent of the author. Reference must be made to this report, should the results, recommendations or conclusions in this report be used in subsequent documentation. Any comments on the draft copy of the Draft Visual Impact Assessment (VIA) must be put in writing. Any recommendations, statements or conclusions drawn from, or based upon, this report, must make reference to it. This document was completed by Silver Solutions 887 cc trading as VRM Africa, a Visual Impact Study and Mapping organisation located in George, South Africa. VRM Africa cc was appointed as an independent professional visual impact practitioner to facilitate this VIA. This document was undertaken by the following team: Liesel Stokes

Visual Impact / Mitigation

Stephen Stead

Director/ Visual Impact

Masters in Landscape Architecture, (Pr Larch (ML) (Pret), ILASA) APHP accredited VIA Practitioner

Heather Stead

Research/ Assistant

Bachelor of Arts

Lisa Schultz

Editing Rating

and

Contrast Bachelor of Arts, Fine Art

Stephen Stead APHP accredited VIA Specialist

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 1

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY........................................................................................................... 7

2

INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................... 8

3 3.1 3.2 3.3

APPROACH TO STUDY ........................................................................................................... 9 TERMS OF REFERENCE............................................................................................................ 9 S UMMARY OF VIA METHODOLOGY ......................................................................................... 10 LIMITATIONS AND ASSUMPTIONS ............................................................................................ 12

4 4.1 4.2 4.2.1

PROJECT DESCRIPTION ...................................................................................................... 13 S UBSTATION DESCRIPTION .................................................................................................... 13 E XISTING LEEUWBOSCH SUBSTATION VISIBILITY ..................................................................... 16 Visibility ........................................................................................................................... 16

5 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8

LANDSCAPE CONTEXT ........................................................................................................ 18 A PPLICABLE LAWS AND POLICIES ........................................................................................... 18 K NYSNA AND RHEENENDAL TOURIST CONTEXT ....................................................................... 20 E XISTING RURAL RHEENENDAL RESIDENTIAL CONTEXT ............................................................ 20 E XISTING AGRICULTURAL SENSE OF PLACE ............................................................................. 21 TOPOGRAPHY ....................................................................................................................... 22 V EGETATION......................................................................................................................... 22 ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE........................................................................................................ 23 E XISTING POWERLINE INFRASTRUCTURE................................................................................. 23

6 6.1

SITE LANDSCAPE CHARACTER.......................................................................................... 24 V ISUAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT CLASSES ........................................................................... 27

7 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6

KEY OBSERVATION POINTS AND CONTRAST RATING .................................................... 28 A LTERNATIVE 1 PHOTOMONTAGE: KOP RHEENENDAL ROAD W ESTBOUND ............................... 31 A LTERNATIVE 1 PHOTOMONTAGE: KOP RHEENENDAL ROAD EASTBOUND ................................ 32 A LTERNATIVE 1 PHOTOMONTAGE: KOP RHEENENDAL ROAD, SUBSTATION ENTRANCE ............. 33 A LTERNATIVE 2 PHOTOMONTAGE: KOP RHEENENDAL ROAD W ESTBOUND ............................... 34 A LTERNATIVE 2 PHOTOMONTAGE: KOP RHEENENDAL ROAD EASTBOUND ................................ 35 A LTERNATIVE 3 PHOTOMONTAGE: KOP RHEENENDAL ROAD W ESTBOUND ............................... 36

8 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5

IMPACT ASSESSMENT ......................................................................................................... 37 DEAD&P METHODOLOGY ..................................................................................................... 37 IMPACT ASSESSMENT SUMMARY TABLE: STATUS QUO ............................................................ 38 IMPACT ASSESSMENT SUMMARY TABLE: ALTERNATIVE 1 ......................................................... 38 IMPACT ASSESSMENT SUMMARY TABLE: ALTERNATIVE 2 ......................................................... 39 IMPACT ASSESSMENT SUMMARY TABLE: ALTERNATIVE 3 ......................................................... 40

9 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6

IMPACT FINDINGS ................................................................................................................ 44 S TATUS QUO ........................................................................................................................ 44 A LTERNATIVE 1: MITIGATION MEASURES ................................................................................ 44 A LTERNATIVE 2: MITIGATION MEASURES ................................................................................ 46 A LTERNATIVE 3: MITIGATION MEASURES ................................................................................ 47 S UGGESTED S PECIES FOR ALTERNATIVE 1 AND 2 ................................................................... 48 S UGGESTED S PECIES FOR ALTERNATIVE 3 ............................................................................. 48

10

CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................................ 49

11

REFERENCES ........................................................................................................................ 51

12

ANNEXURE 1: EXISTING COMPROMISED TREES ............................................................. 52

13 13.1 13.2

ANNEXURE 2: SPECIALIST DETAILS ................................................................................. 53 DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE .......................................................................................... 53 CURRICULUM VITAE .............................................................................................................. 54

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ANNEXURE 3: METHODOLOGY .......................................................................................... 58

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TABLE OF FIGURES Figure 1: Regional approximate project locality map ......................................................................... 8 Figure 2: VRM process diagram...................................................................................................... 11 Figure 3: Photograph of existing Leeuwbosch Substation ............................................................... 13 Figure 4: Photograph of existing Leeuwbosch Substation 132kV and 66kV powerlines .................. 13 Figure 5: Photograph depicting the existing powerlines .................................................................. 14 Figure 6: Leeuwbosch Substation and General Layout plan ............................................................ 15 Figure 7: Cross section of terrain around existing substation east to west (right to left)................... 16 Figure 8: Cross section of terrain around existing substation north to south (right to left) ................ 16 Figure 9: Existing substation Viewshed overlay onto SG 50 000 Topographical map...................... 17 Figure 10: View of Knysna from Pezula Golf Course (Source: Andres de Wet. 2010) ..................... 20 Figure 11: View of rural sense of place ........................................................................................... 20 Figure 12: View of wilderness and agrarian areas surrounding the substation ................................ 21 Figure 13: View of agricultural sense of place ................................................................................. 21 Figure 14: Elevation model ............................................................................................................. 22 Figure 15: Photo depicting Rheenendal road with the existing substation in background ................ 23 Figure 16: Photo depicting existing powerline infrastructure............................................................ 23 Figure 17: Site Locality Map............................................................................................................ 25 Figure 18: Existing stunted or dead screening trees due to waterlogged soil .................................. 27 Figure 19: Key Observation Point Locality Map (Generated from Google Earth) ............................. 30 Figure 20: Mitigation Map Alternative 1 ........................................................................................... 41 Figure 21: Mitigation Map Alternative 2 ........................................................................................... 42 Figure 22: Leeuwbosch Mitigation Alternative 3 Concept Plan ........................................................ 43

LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Existing Substation Site: Visibility, Zone of Visual Influence and Exposure Table ............... 26 Table 2: Existing Substation Site: Scenic Quality Table .................................................................... 26 Table 3: Existing Substation Site: Receptor Sensitivity Table............................................................ 26 Table 4: VRM Table for Proposed Route Alternatives ....................................................................... 27 Table 5: VRM Terminology Table...................................................................................................... 65

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LIST OF ACRONYMS APHP BLM BPEO CALP DEA&DP DEM DoC EIA EMP GIS I&APs IDP IEMA IEMP KOP MAMSL NELPAG PSDF ROD SDF SEA VAC VIA VRM ZVI

Association of Professional Heritage Practitioners Bureau of Land Management (United States) Best Practicable Environmental Option Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (South Africa) Digital Elevation Model Degree of Contrast Environmental Impact Assessment Environmental Management Plan Geographic Information System Interested and Affected Parties Infrastructure Development Plan Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (United Kingdom) Integrated Environmental Management Plan Key Observation Point Metres above mean sea level New England Light Pollution Advisory Group Provincial Spatial Development Framework Record of Decision Spatial Development Framework Strategic Environmental Assessment Visual Absorption Capacity Visual Impact Assessment Visual Resource Management Zone of Visual Influence

GLOSSARY Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) This is the option that provides the most benefit, or causes the least damage, to the environment as a whole, at a cost acceptable to society, in the long, as well as the short, term. Cumulative Impact The impact on the environment which results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions, regardless of what agency or person undertakes such other actions. Cumulative impacts can result from individually minor, but collectively significant, actions taking place over a period of time. Impact (visual) A description of the effect of an aspect of a development on a specified component of the visual, aesthetic or scenic environment, within a defined time and space. Issue (visual) Issues are concerns related to the proposed development, generally phrased as questions, taking the form of “what will the impact of some activity be on some element of the visual, aesthetic or scenic environment?� Key Observation Points (KOPs) KOPs refer to receptors (people affected by the visual influence of a project) located in the most critical locations surrounding the landscape modification, who make consistent use of the views associated with the site where the landscape modifications are proposed. KOPs can either be a single point of view that an observer/evaluator uses to rate an area or panorama, or a linear view along a roadway, trail or river corridor. Management Actions Actions that enhance the benefits of a proposed development, or avoid, mitigate, restore or compensate for, negative impacts. PROPOSED ESKOM LEEUWBOSCH SUBSTATION PROJECT

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Receptors Individuals, groups or communities who would be subject to the visual influence of a particular project. Sense of Place The unique quality or character of a place, whether natural, rural or urban. Scenic Corridor A linear geographic area that contains scenic resources, usually, but not necessarily, defined by a route. Scoping The process of determining the key issues, and the space and time boundaries, to be addressed in an environmental assessment. Viewshed The outer boundary defining a view catchment area, usually along crests and ridgelines. Similar to a watershed. This reflects the area in which, or the extent to which, the landscape modification is likely to be seen. Zone of Visual Influence (ZVI) The ZVI is defined as ‘the area within which a proposed development may have an influence or effect on visual amenity.’

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

VRM Africa was appointed to undertake a Visual Impact Assessment (VIA) of the proposed Leeuwbosch Substation Mitigations on behalf of Eskom Holdings Limited . The proposed substation site is located on Portion of Erf 3322, Farm Leeuwenbosch within the Knysna Local municipality, which is part of the Eden District Municipality. Three alternative mitigations were generated and assessed with Alternative 3 being the preferred.  Alternative 1 uses a combination of simple effective tree screens planted around the building platform as well as a system of berms, ponds and marsh under the powerlines on the northwestern boundary. The suggested screening tree is the Populus simonii, (Chinese Poplar Tree). Although not indigenous, this particular tree screen is fast growing, can grow in wet conditions, is effective as a wind break and will effectively break the visual impact of the substation as viewed from Rheenendal Road and adjacent farmlands, excepting under the powerlines of the NW boundary. The trees attain a height of 8 - 15m and a 2 - 6 m spread in ideal conditions. Maintenance would be low. (See Figure 20) Due to the waterlogging, drainage would need to be addressed as part of any planting strategy. Due to continued maintenance required to reduce the height of the trees in order to ensure that windfall damage does not take place, this option was not preferred by Eskom.  Alternative 2 is a soft option using indigenous trees species which highlights a creative way of reconciling manmade structures in a rural landscape. The revegetation should enhance the local ambience as well as creating screening of the structure. In order for this to be successful the waterlogged soil needs to be attended to. This option creates an effective biodiversity system achieved through community co-operation between Eskom and local landowners. The intensively landscaped area under the powerlines serves to create a natural focal point close to the receptor thus drawing the eye away from the overhead powerlines. Berms are to be created from soil excavated from ponds and marsh areas between the NW boundary and the building platform and on adjoining farmlands. Maintenance would be low due to the indigenous nature of the vegetation. (See Figure 21) The requirement of clustering of trees to allow for more effective indigenous tree ‘forest’ growth, would require more land, and this option would require an agreement with the local farmer to landscape the land around the substation. As further permissions and possible land purchases would be required by Eskom, this alternative would not be feasible.  Alternative 3 restores and re-entrenches the initial tree screening mitigation adjacent the MR355 road undertaken by Eskom. Unfortunately, due to a high water table at certain areas along the road, much of the initial tree growth has been compromised due to water logging. It is unlikely that indigenous trees can be successfully planted as a windrow due to these wet and clay soil factors; without high costs as each tree would require approx. two cubes of topsoil and continued maintenance. To increase confidence in the mitigation, it is recommended that the proposed windrow mitigation be planted with a combination of pin oak (Quercus palustris), water oak (Quercus nigra) and Chinese popular (Populus simonii). In certain areas it might be possible to plant water berry (Syzygium cordatum) but with lowered confidence and possible reduced growth (discretion should be placed on the Landscape Architect to determine which trees would be best suited for the particular site to facilitate the required screening effects). The cultural landscape is strongly defined by alien tree windrows. Thus this proposed combination of non-indigenous trees would tie into the cultural landscape context. A hedgerow type screening effect would also be planted adjacent the substation to the south to partially screen the security fence from the view of receptors. In addition, screening scrubs planted onto a low berm at the entrance to the substation would enhance the entrance view and break up views. The existing north-south aligned pine windrow would be extended (pending permission from landowner) to the south to the MR 355 Rheenendal road, and the tree planting along this road would be extended to the west of the substation entrance. Alternative 3 is the preferred mitigation in that it extends and re-emphasises the initial windrow mitigation measures by Eskom. This mitigation is also preferred in that it aligns with the Heritage Assessment findings which re-emphasises the importance of recreating the existing precedence for windrows which define the local cultural landscape.

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INTRODUCTION

VRM Africa was appointed by Landscape Dynamics Environmental Consultants to undertake a Visual Impact Assessment (VIA) of the proposed Leeuwbosch Substation Mitigations on behalf of Eskom Holdings Limited. The proposed substation is to be located near Rheenendal, Knysna, Western Cape Province as indicated in Figure 1. The proposed substation site is located on Portion of Erf 3322, Farm Leeuwenbosch within the Knysna Local municipality, which is part of the Eden District Municipality.

Figure 1: Regional approximate project locality map

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APPROACH TO STUDY

3.1 Terms of Reference The scope of the study is to cover the entire proposed project area. This includes a site visit of the full site extent, as well as areas where potential impacts may occur beyond the site boundaries.  All available secondary data relevant to the affected proposed project area to be collated and analysed. Cumulative effects are to be considered in all impact reports.  Specific attention is to be given to the following: o Quantify and assess existing scenic resources/visual characteristics on, and around, the proposed site. o Evaluate and classify the landscape in terms of sensitivity to a changing land use. o Determine viewsheds, view corridors and important viewpoints in order to assess the visual impacts of the proposed project. o Determine visual issues, including those identified in the public participation process. o Review the legal framework that may have implications for visual/scenic resources. o Assess the significance of potential visual impacts resulting from the proposed project for the construction, operational and decommissioning phases of the proposed project. o Identify possible mitigation measures to reduce negative visual impacts for inclusion into the proposed project design, including input into the Environmental Management Plan (EMP). Principles that influence (development) within a receiving environment include the following:  The need to maintain the overall integrity (or intactness) of the particular landscape or townscape;  The need to preserve the special character or 'sense of place' of a particular area; and  The need to minimise visual intrusion or obstruction of views within a particular area.’ (Oberholzer, B., 2005). The International Finance Corporation (IFC) prescribes eight performance standards (PS) on environmental and social sustainability. The first is to identify and evaluate the environmental and social risks and impacts of a project, as well as to avoid, minimise or compensate for any such impacts. Under PS 6, ecosystem services are organized into four categories, with visual/aesthetic benefits falling into the category of cultural services, which are the non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems (IFC. 2012). This emotional enrichment that people experience and obtain from cultural ecosystems services is described by The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005, Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis report as follows: “Cultural ecosystems services: the non-material benefits that people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences.” (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005). The above includes the following, amongst others: 

Inspiration:

Ecosystems provide a rich source of inspiration for art, folklore, national symbols, architecture, and advertising;

Aesthetic values:

Many people find beauty or aesthetic value in various aspects of ecosystems, as reflected in the support for parks, scenic drives, and the selection of housing locations;

Sense of place:

Many people value the “sense of place” that is associated with recognised features of their environment, including aspects of the ecosystem;

Cultural heritage values:

Many societies place high value on the maintenance of either historically important landscapes (“cultural landscapes”) or culturally significant species; and

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Recreation and ecotourism:

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People often choose where to spend their leisure time based in part on the characteristics of the natural or cultivated landscapes in a particular area.

The visual experience is not limited to the visual senses, but is a multisensory emotional involvement experienced by people when they perceive a specific scene, landmark, landscape, etc. The assessment subject of VIA is in itself a result of human perception.

3.2

Summary of VIA Methodology

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) prescribes eight performance standards (PS) on environmental and social sustainability, the first of which is to identify and evaluate environmental and social risks and impacts of a project, as well as to avoid, minimize or compensate for any such impacts. Performance Standard 6 refers to the nonmaterial benefits people obtain from Cultural Ecosystems. These are the emotional enrichment that people experience is a non-material benefit that people obtain from cultural ecosystems services, as described by The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis report: “Cultural ecosystems services: the nonmaterial benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences. The process that VRM Africa follows when undertaking a VIA is based on the United States Bureau of Land Management‘s (BLM) Visual Resource Management method. This mapping and GIS-based method of assessing landscape modifications allows for increased objectivity and consistency by using a standard assessment criteria and involves the measurement of contrast in the form, line, texture and colour of the proposed landscape modification brought about by a proposed project, against the same elements found in the existing natural landscape (BLM. USDI. 2004). See Figure 2. The first step in the VIA process is determining the existing and planned landscape context. A document review is undertaken to identify key plans for the area, and a regional landscape survey is undertaken to define the key landscape features and the visual resources. The landscape character of the proposed project site is then surveyed and mapped to identify areas of similar land use and landscape character. These areas are then rated using the VRM scenic quality criteria. Individuals, groups or communities who would be subjected to the visual influence of a particular project are referred to as receptors and are identified early on in the VIA process by means of a viewshed analysis. Visual receptors are then screened against VRM receptor sensitivity criteria to define Key Observation Points (KOPs), which are the most significant locations where people or communities make consistent use of the views associated with the proposed site. Preliminary survey using Google Earth has identified tourist related activities in the area. The sensitivity of these points is assessed by applying VRM receptor sensitivity criteria. The proposed project activities are then finally assessed from the KOPs around the site. Photo montages are generated to represent the expected change in the views as seen from each KOP. The degree of contrast in terms of line, colour, texture and form is measured to determine the extent to which the proposed project meets the Visual Resource Management objectives defined for the site. If contrast generated is high, mitigations and recommendations can be made to assist in meeting the visual objectives.

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Figure 2: VRM process diagram

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Limitations and Assumptions 

 

Although every effort to maintain accuracy was undertaken, as a result of the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) being generated from satellite imagery and not being a true representation of the earth’s surface, the viewshed mapping is approximate and may not represent an exact visibility incidence. The use of Google Earth Pro for mapping is licensed for use in this document. Some of the mapping in this document was created using Bing Maps (previously Live Search Maps, Windows Live Maps, Windows Live Local, and MSN Virtual Earth) and powered by the Bing Maps for Enterprise framework. The information for the terrain used in the 3D computer model on which the visibility analysis is based on is: o The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection (ASTER) Radiometer Data (ASTGTM_S2 3E014 and ASTGTM_S24E014 data set). ASTER GDEM is a product of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in USA. (ASTER GDEM. METI / NASA. 2011) Determining visual resources is a subjective process where absolute terms are not achievable. Evaluating a landscape’s visual quality is complex, as assessment of the visual landscape applies mainly qualitative standards. Therefore, subjectivity cannot be excluded in the assessment procedure (Lange 1994). The project deliverables, including electronic copies of reports, maps, data, shape files and photographs, are based on the author’s professional knowledge, as well as available information. This study is based on assessment techniques and investigations that are limited by time and budgetary constraints applicable to the type and level of assessment undertaken. VRM Africa reserves the right to modify aspects of the project deliverables if and when new/additional information may become available from research or further work in the applicable field of practice, or pertaining to this study. Distribution transmission lines from the proposed substation could influence cumulative visual impacts.

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PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The objective is to generate mitigations to reduce the visual intrusion of the existing Leeuwbosch substation. Each of the three mitigation alternatives will be assessed in terms of their ability to assist visual integration of the existing substation into the surrounding landscape character. The existing project site and layout plans can be seen in Figure 5 to 9 on the following pages. Due to constraints identified by Eskom as well as a recommendation from the Heritage Impact Assessment for windrows, a further Alternative was identified. This alternative and the assessment of its impacts can be seen in the Impacts section.

4.1 Substation Description The existing Leeuwbosch Substation can be seen in the photographs below. The site of the proposed transmission line will shift lightly with the construction of the new 132V double circuit powerline. The existing 132kV powerline will be downgraded to a 66kV line and the current 66kV powerline would be dismantled. Therefore, the visual impact of the power lines will remain the same.

Figure 3: Photograph of existing Leeuwbosch Substation Existing 132kV powerline downgraded to 66kV

66kV to be dismantled

Proposed new 132kV powerline

Figure 4: Photograph of existing Leeuwbosch Substation 132kV and 66kV powerlines

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Figure 5: Photograph depicting the existing powerlines The above map shows the existing Eskom transmission line between George and Knysna. Leeuwbosch substation can be seen circled in red.

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Figure 6: Leeuwbosch Substation and General Layout plan

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Existing Leeuwbosch Substation Visibility

The existing Substation is situated in a rectangular servitude area with dimensions 157 m x 124 m, that is required for the road access. The height of the substation is approximately 215 metres above mean ground level. The Viewshed Analysis was generated from the centre of the proposed substation location. The height of source for determining the viewshed was set at 30 metres above ground. The height representing the surrounding visual receptors was set at 1.5 metres above ground level. As is shown on the viewshed map on the following page, without taking landuse or vegetation into consideration, the viewshed extent is fairly contained by the undulation of the surrounding terrain. As indicated in the profiles below, the slight rise is elevation to the east of the site restricts visibility to within approximately 300 metres of the site, the lower lying terrain to the west allows visibility to approximately 500 metres from site. The north to south profile indicates slightly elevated terrain to the south with visibility restricted to within 200m of the site. There is a slight valley effect to the north with the possibility of visibility extending to approximately 500 metres from site. Key receptors identified within the viewshed include the Rheenendal Road (MR355) which links the N2 highway in the south to the town of Rheenendal in the north. The Rheenendal Road is a tourist corridor as the town of Knysna is an important tourist destination and there are many tourist related accommodation activities located along the route. Also located within the viewshed are isolated farmsteads which are agrarian in nature as the immediate surrounds of the site are strongly associated with dairy farming.

4.2.1

Visibility

Figure 7: Cross section of terrain around existing substation east to west (right to left)

Figure 8: Cross section of terrain around existing substation north to south (right to left)

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Figure 9: Existing substation Viewshed overlay onto SG 50 000 Topographical map

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LANDSCAPE CONTEXT

Landscape character is defined by the U.K. Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) as the ‘distinct and recognisable pattern of elements that occurs consistently in a particular type of landscape, and how this is perceived by people. It reflects particular combinations of geology, land form, soils, vegetation, land use and human settlement’. It creates the specific sense of place or essential character and ‘spirit of the place’ (Spon Press, 2002). The first step in the VIA process is determining the existing landscape context of the region and of the site(s) where the project is proposed. The proposed substation lies in the Knysna Local Municipality which is situated within the Eden District Regional Municipality in the Western Cape Province.

5.1 Applicable Laws and Policies In order to comply with the Visual Resource Management requirements, it is necessary to clarify which planning policies govern the proposed property area to ensure that the scale, density and nature of activities or developments are harmonious and in keeping with the sense of place and character of the area. The proposed landscape modifications must be viewed in the context of the planning policies from the following organisations:   

Knysna Municipality Integrated Development Plan 2012 – 2017 Knysna Municipality Spatial Development Framework 2010 Western Cape DEA&DP Guideline for involving Visual and Aesthetic Specialists in EIA Processes

Knysna Municipality SDF Management Provisions for Topographically Sensitive Areas  Erosion/soil /ridgeline conservation  Development on steep slopes (i.e. steeper than 1:4) will be strongly discouraged as such areas are subject to erosion and instability. Slope steepness will be evaluated for the area of the site where development is being proposed and not for the site as a whole. High Mountains:  Mountains, hills and ridges are often characterized by unique and sensitive ecosystems.  Mountains, hills and ridges are of aesthetic/scenic value.  Remote mountainous areas provide a “wilderness” experience which is important for the well being of people. They may also be of religious, spiritual or cultural value to people.  These areas have a high scenic value and attract tourists and recreational users. This provides opportunities for passive and active recreational developments.  These areas provide suitable locations for infrastructure developments such as dams, cable cars and communication towers.  Properties in these areas are generally of high value which makes them desirable for residential development. Steep Slopes:  Steep slopes are problematic in being unstable and susceptible to erosion.  Steep slopes are important, since even gentle gradients will require preparation by means of terracing, and the resultant earthworks may add significantly to the impact especially where slopes exceed 15%.  Developments on steep slopes are likely to result in excessive visual scarring due to the cut and fill slopes associated with the creation of building platforms, infrastructure and access requirements.  Where activities on steep or very steep slopes have been proved to be essential, extensive studies should be undertaken and strict conditions laid down regarding:  Engineering requirements,  Mitigating measures to minimise visual impact,  Measure to rehabilitate exposed slopes, PROPOSED ESKOM LEEUWBOSCH SUBSTATION PROJECT

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       

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Control measures to minimise disturbance during construction, Limiting disturbance due to access, Stabilization of areas after disturbance. Control should be exercised on activities related to developments adjacent to steep slopes to ensure that: A vegetated buffer strip is maintained at the toe and head of the slope. The width of the buffer strip will be determined by the extent of the slope, nature of the vegetation and the type of development, Measures are taken to address possible access requirements across the slope. Unstable natural slopes: Areas illustrating ‘slide topography’, and areas of cover sands on steep slopes manifest in the form of slumps, scars, hummocky ground below scarps, leaning trees or displaced fences will indicate the possibility of slope movement. This severe situation will require a comprehensive environmental impact assessment. Other risk areas include highly jointed rock slopes, high rainfall areas, areas subject to seismic activity where deep residual or transported soils of intermediate texture are found on moderate slopes.

Management Provisions for Visually Sensitive Areas:  Areas of scenic beauty, scenic routes and special features  Proposed activities / developments within areas of outstanding natural beauty, scenic drives and panoramic views must be sensitive to the natural beauty. The layout, buildings, density, landscape treatment and infrastructure should:  Be visually unobtrusive,  Utilise materials and colours that originate from or blend into the surrounding landscape,  Be grouped in clusters with open spaces between clusters,  Not interfere with the skyline, landmarks, major views and vistas,  Respond to the historical, architectural and landscape style of surrounding layout and buildings,  Incorporate existing man-made or natural landmarks and movement patterns.  Development within visually sensitive areas  Any development within a visually sensitive area must be planned to ensure that earthworks do not have any detrimental impacts on wetlands and flood areas,  In road cuttings this will require the services of a competent professional to ensure structurally sound, aesthetically acceptable and environmentally sensitive landscaping. The landscaping should take factors such as vegetation, soil colour, recoverability, slope and elevation into account. Knysna Municipality IDP  For a number of years Council had to apply strict conditions to land use and development applications due to the electricity consumption for the GKMA being at capacity. Eskom is currently upgrading the line between Blanco, George and Bitou and this will free up considerable electricity capacity.  There will be increased electricity capacity with installation of a new 20MVA transformer intake substation.  Knysna is heavily reliant on the Tourism Industry and aims to: o Increase the number of visitors / length of stay / average spend in the area; o Maintain and grow existing markets, whilst developing and attracting new markets; o Become a primary tourism destination; Western Cape DEA&DP Guideline for involving Visual and Aesthetic Specialists in EIA Processes The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP) Guideline for involving visual and aesthetic specialists in EIA processes states that the Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) should address the following: PROPOSED ESKOM LEEUWBOSCH SUBSTATION PROJECT

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   

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Ensure that the scale, density and nature of activities or developments are harmonious and in keeping with the sense of place and character of the area. The BPEO must also ensure that development must be located to prevent structures from being a visual intrusion (i.e. to retain open views and vistas). “Long term protection of important scenic resources and heritage sites; Minimisation of visual intrusion in scenic areas; Retention of wilderness or special areas intact as far as possible; Responsiveness to the area's uniqueness, or sense of place.”(Oberholzer, B., 2005)

5.2 Knysna and Rheenendal Tourist context Knysna is a small town built on the northern shore of a large warm-water estuary of the Knysna River. Knysna is a popular tourist destination due to its indigenous forests, tranquil lakes and golden beaches. The town lies on the banks of a lagoon, now a protected marine reserve. (www. sa-venues.com). Knysna falls within the Garden Route region of the Southern Cape which encompasses the world renowned Tsitsikamma and Wilderness sections, the Knysna Lake section, a variety of mountain catchment, Southern Cape indigenous forest and associated Fynbos areas. These areas resemble a montage of landscapes and seascapes, from ocean to mountain areas, and are renowned for its diverse natural and cultural heritage resources (www. sanparks.co.za).

Figure 10: View of Knysna from Pezula Golf Course (Source: Andres de Wet. 2010) 5.3 Existing rural Rheenendal residential context Rheenendal is a pastoral country district about 10 km west of the town of Knysna, and is home to many artists & crafters. Tourists can enjoy a scenic drive on the Rheenendal Ramble circular route which offers various plant nurseries, outdoor activities & adventures, scenic forest drives, and a historic museum and old goldmines at Millwood, as well as tea gardens and restaurants (www. mbendi.com). The existing rural sense of place reinforces the value of the landscape. Rheenendal is located on the plateau above Knysna Town, in the forests but has commercial potential. With the decline in the timber industry there is little economic activity (Knysna IDP. 2012).

Figure 11: View of rural sense of place

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Figure 12: View of wilderness and agrarian areas surrounding the substation 5.4 Existing agricultural sense of place The area surrounding the substation on the plateau has an agricultural sense of place as can be seen in Figure 12. There are well established dairy farms in the area and the surrounding land is mainly made up of cultivated fields predominantly for dairy grazing.

Figure 13: View of agricultural sense of place

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5.5 Topography The Rheenendal area is a hilly tree covered landscape. The mountains rise steeply up from sea level to about 200m within a 2 km radius, which is a key factor in defining the Knysna landscape character. The substation is located on a plateau. The flat gradient results in water logging due to the clay nature of the soil.

Figure 14: Elevation model 5.6 Vegetation The Rheenendal area is home to intensive agricultural plantations, critical biodiversity areas as well as ecological support areas and rural residential areas. Amongst the largest ecological process areas are landscape corridors comprising large tracts of natural habitat, such as major river systems or mountain ranges. They serve as landscape-scale "highways", allowing plant and animal species to migrate along them in response to any changes in climate. These highways run along river courses from the high inland mountains, across the lower coastal plain and to the coast, or else along mountain ranges in an east-west gradient. Smaller ecological process areas include, for example the natural buffer area of an isolated wetland. (Knysna SDF. 2010) The indigenous forests in Knysna constitute the largest complex of closedcanopy forest in southern Africa, whilst the remarkable richness of the Fynbos vegetation contributes over 8000 plant species to the Cape floral kingdom. (www. sa-venues.com)

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5.7 Road Infrastructure The N2 Highway runs though Knysna and is the main highway along the Indian Ocean coast of the country. The N2 is a popular tourist route between Cape Town and the Eastern Cape. The local district road from Knysna to Rheenendal is the Rheenendal Road and is the main access route to the hilly plateau area above the Knysna River Valley. The receptors using this road are of an agricultural, residential and tourist nature.

Figure 15: Photo depicting Rheenendal road with the existing substation in background

5.8 Existing powerline infrastructure The existing substation and powerlines are part of the Blanco-Knysna Eskom powerline. There are 2 powerlines running parallel to each other through this area. Landscape character within a 500m buffer of the powerlines is degraded as the strongly undulating terrain often results in skyline intrusion which dominates the attention of the casual observer.

Figure 16: Photo depicting existing powerline infrastructure

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SITE LANDSCAPE CHARACTER

In terms of the VRM methodology, landscape character is derived from a combination of scenic quality, receptor sensitivity to landscape change, and the distance of the proposed landscape modification from key receptor points. In terms of the VRM methodology, landscape character is derived from a combination of scenic quality, receptor sensitivity to landscape change, and distance of the proposed landscape modification from key receptor points. The scenic quality is determined using seven key factors:  Land Form: Topography becomes more of a factor as it becomes steeper, or more severely sculptured.  Vegetation: Primary consideration given to the variety of patterns, forms, and textures created by plant life.  Water: That ingredient which adds movement or serenity to a scene. The degree to which water dominates the scene is the primary consideration.  Colour: The overall colour(s) of the basic components of the landscape (e.g., soil, rock, vegetation, etc.) are considered as they appear during seasons or periods of high use.  Scarcity: This factor provides an opportunity to give added importance to one, or all, of the scenic features that appear to be relatively unique or rare within one physiographic region.  Adjacent Land Use: Degree to which scenery and distance enhance, or start to influence, the overall impression of the scenery within the rating unit.  Cultural Modifications: Cultural modifications should be considered, and may detract from the scenery or complement or improve the scenic quality of an area. Sensitivity levels are a measure of public concern for scenic quality. Receptor sensitivity to landscape change is determined using the following factors:  Type of Users: Visual sensitivity will vary with the type of users, e.g. recreational sightseers may be highly sensitive to any changes in visual quality, whereas workers who pass through the area on a regular basis may not be as sensitive to change.  Amount of Use: Areas seen or used by large numbers of people are potentially more sensitive.  Public Interest: The visual quality of an area may be of concern to local, or regional, groups. Indicators of this concern are usually expressed via public controversy created in response to proposed activities.  Adjacent Land Uses: The interrelationship with land uses in adjacent lands. For example, an area within the viewshed of a residential area may be very sensitive, whereas an area surrounded by commercially developed lands may not be as visually sensitive.  Special Areas: Management objectives for special areas such as Natural Areas, Wilderness Areas or Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, Scenic Areas, Scenic Roads or Trails, and Critical Biodiversity Areas frequently require special consideration for the protection of their visual values.  Other Factors: Consider any other information such as research or studies that include indicators of visual sensitivity. Two full site surveys were undertaken on the 23 August and 11 September 2013. During the survey five different locations, which are associated with the various sites, were surveyed during the field study to determine scenic quality, receptor sensitivity to landscape change and distance from nearest receptors. Making use of the ASTGTM survey data, a terrain model was generated for the area around the proposed project activity and using the viewshed the receptors for each activity were identified

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Figure 17: Site Locality Map

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Road infrastructure

1

Water

3

Colour

2

3

Adj. Scenery

Landform

-4

High

High

High

Public interest

High

Adj. land users

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Amount of use

Type Users

50m

6

C

Motivation

Only a single landuse was defined at the site which has already been modified with the construction of the substation. The landform is rated low as the terrain is flat. Vegetation is mainly transformed with veld and kikuyu grasses on the verges of the site. There are two small ponds which add some visual appeal to the immediate site and the water category is rated medium. Colours associated with the site are mainly greys from the substation infrastructure and the mid greens of the surrounding pastures. The scarcity category was rated 3 as the site is located in a visually appealing area. Due to the high levels of contrast generated by the substation and powerline infrastructure, the cultural modification value was rated very low. The total value for scenic quality of the site was 6 which is defined as low.

Motivation

The MR355 at its nearest, passes within 50m of the substation, with initial views from westbound receptors taking place at a distance of approximately 200m, and eastbound receptors taking place at approximately 100m.

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Medium

Special areas

High

Recep tor sensit ivity

26

Type of users is defined as high. This was confirmed during the public participation process and as the area is also a well-known tourist location. The amount of use was defined as high as the MR355 is located in close proximity to the substation and is the main route in the area. The importance of adjacent land users to maintain visual integrity was defined as high as surrounding areas do have higher scenic qualities which are or can be utilised for tourism. The rating for special areas was defined as medium. Although not proclaimed as a nature conservation area, is in close proximity to the MR355 tourist view corridor, and the area is identified in the Knysna SDF as a lower order tourism destination.

Motivation

(Key: A= scenic quality rating of ≥19; B = rating of 12 – 18, C= rating of ≤11)

3

Table 3: Existing Substation Site: Receptor Sensitivity Table

Vegetation

1

Scarcity

Distance Zone

Cultural Modification

Table 2: Existing Substation Site: Scenic Quality Table

MR355 (Rheenedal Road)

Landuse

Total

Receptors

Table 1: Existing Substation Site: Visibility, Zone of Visual Influence and Exposure Table

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Scenic Quality


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6.1

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Visual Resource Management Classes

The table below is utilised to define the Visual Resource Management (VRM) Classes that represent the relative value of the visual resources of an area: i. Classes I and II are the most valued; ii. Class III represents a moderate value; and iii. Class IV is of least value. 

The Class I objective is to preserve the existing character of the landscape, where the level of change to the characteristic landscape should be very low, and must not attract attention. Class I is assigned to those areas where a specialist decision has been made to maintain a natural landscape. The Class II objective is to retain the existing character of the landscape and the level of change to the characteristic landscape should be low. Management activities may be seen, but should not attract the attention of the casual observer, and should repeat the basic elements of form, line, colour and texture found in the predominant natural features of the characteristic landscape. The Class III objective is to partially retain the existing character of the landscape, where the level of change to the characteristic landscape should be moderate. Management activities may attract attention, but should not dominate the view of the casual observer, and changes should repeat the basic elements found in the predominant natural features of the characteristic landscape. The Class IV objective is to provide for management activities which require major modifications of the existing character of the landscape. The level of change to the landscape can be high, and these management activities may dominate the view and be the major focus of the viewer’s (s’) attention.

Table 4: VRM Table for Proposed Route Alternatives VRM Class

Motivation The site was identified as having a low scenic quality but with high receptor sensitivity and high proximity to Rheenendal Road (MR355). Due to the significance of the MR355 as a tourist view corridor, it is recommended that Class III visual objectives be maintained. The current visual status of the substation as seen from the MR355 and surrounding receptors is more a Class IV due to the industrial nature of the substation. High visual contrast is generated by the reflective texture of the busbars, pylons and security fencing. The light grey colour generates high contrast to the mainly green colours of the surrounding pastures and trees. Line contrast is high due to the strong vertical lines of the pylons and busbars. Form contrast is lower as the substation infrastructure is mainly diffuse with the exception of the single solid structure.

Site

IV (III) The palisade fence as seen from the road is read as a low rectangular form. This is accentuated by the reflective nature and light grey colour of the fencing. It is recommended that mitigation should be implemented to reduce the visual contrast. Contrast can be reduced by localised tree screening near the fence or by tree screening adjacent to the road. Eskom has embarked on a community project to pay for and to plant trees adjacent to the road. However, due to the waterlogged nature of the terrain adjacent the road, the trees are currently stressed and evidence that many of the trees have died is apparent (see photo). Mitigations need to take into consideration the water logged nature of the environment and ensure that any screening trees are suited to the local environment and are raised off the ground to allow for more effective drainage.

Figure 18: Existing stunted or dead screening trees due to waterlogged soil PROPOSED ESKOM LEEUWBOSCH SUBSTATION PROJECT

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KEY OBSERVATION POINTS AND CONTRAST RATING

Key Observation Points (KOP) KOPs are defined by the Bureau of Land Management as the people (receptors) located in strategic locations surrounding the property that make consistent use of the views associated with the site where the landscape modifications are proposed. These locations are important in terms of the VRM methodology, which requires that the Degree of Contrast (DoC) that the proposed landscape modifications will make to the existing landscape is measured from these most critical locations, or receptors, surrounding the property. To define the KOPs, potential receptor locations were identified in the viewshed analysis, and screened, based on the following criteria:  Angle of observation;  Number of viewers;  Length of time the project is in view;  Relative project size;  Season of use;  Critical viewpoints, e.g. views from communities, road crossings; and  Distance from property. Making use of the above criteria, the following Key Observation point locations for each of the proposed activities were identified, as indicated in Figure 19:  Site o Rheenendal Road east; (MR355) o Rheenendal Road west; and o Entrance to site. Contrast Rating The contrast rating, or impacts assessment phase, is undertaken after the inventory process has been completed. The suitability of landscape modification is assessed by assessing the degree of potential contrast from the proposed activity in comparison to the existing contrast created by the existing landscape. This is done by evaluating the level of change to the existing landscape by assessing the line, colour, texture and form, in relation to the visual objectives defined for the area. The following criteria are utilised in defining the DoC:   

None Weak Moderate

Strong

: The element contrast is not visible or perceived. : The element contrast can be seen but does not attract attention. : The element contrast begins to attract attention and begins to dominate the characteristic landscape. : The element contrast demands attention, will not be overlooked, and is dominant in the landscape.

As an example, in a Class I area, the visual objective is to preserve the existing character of the landscape, and the resultant contrast to the existing landscape should not be notable to the casual observer and cannot attract attention. In a Class IV area example, the objective is to provide for proposed landscape activities which require major modifications of the existing character of the landscape. Based on whether the VRM objectives are met, mitigations, if required, are defined to avoid, reduce or mitigate the proposed landscape modifications so that the visual impact does not detract from the surrounding landscape sense of place. As a component in this contrast rating process, visual representation, such as photo montages are vital in large-scale modifications, as this serves to inform Interested and Affected persons (I&APs) and decisionmaking authorities of the nature and extent of the impact associated with the proposed project. There is an ethical obligation in this process, as visualisation can be misleading if not undertaken ethically. In this regard, VRM Africa subscribes to the proposed Interim Code of Ethics for Landscape Visualisation developed by the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP) (Sheppard, S.R.J., 2005). See

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Annexure 3: Methodology for further details. This code states that professional presenters of realistic landscape visualisations are responsible for promoting full understanding of proposed landscape changes, providing an honest and neutral visual representation of the expected landscape, by seeking to avoid bias in responses and demonstrating the legitimacy of the visualisation process. Presenters of landscape visualisations should adhere to the principles of:  Access to Information;  Accuracy;  Legitimacy;  Representativeness;  Visual Clarity; and  Interest.

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Figure 19: Key Observation Point Locality Map (Generated from Google Earth)

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Proposed View with mitigation using Populus simonii (Deciduous Chinese poplar tree) (For illustrative purposes only)

Row of Chinese Poplar trees for screening

Alternative 1 Photomontage: KOP Rheenendal Road Westbound

Existing view

7.1

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Row of Chinese Poplar trees for screening

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Proposed View with mitigation using Populus simonii (Deciduous Chinese poplar tree) (For illustrative purposes only)

Berms with shrubs

Alternative 1 Photomontage: KOP Rheenendal Road Eastbound

Existing view

7.2

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Row of Chinese Poplar trees for screening

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Proposed View with mitigation using Populus simonii (Deciduous Chinese poplar tree) (For illustrative purposes only)

Fynbos berms

Alternative 1 Photomontage: KOP Rheenendal Road, Substation Entrance

Existing view

7.3

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Indigenous tree groups

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Proposed View with mitigation using indigenous trees groups on mounds (For illustrative purposes only)

Existing trees

Alternative 2 Photomontage: KOP Rheenendal Road Westbound

Existing view

7.4

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Indigenous tree groups

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Existing trees

Yellowwood tree

Proposed View with mitigation using indigenous trees groups on mounds (For illustrative purposes only)

Pine plantation with cyclic regrowth

Existing view

Newly planted row of trees

Berms with shrubs and fynbos

Alternative 2 Photomontage: KOP Rheenendal Road Eastbound

Pine trees

7.5

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Mix of trees creating a windrow

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Proposed View with mitigation using extended windrow trees adjacent to Rheenendal road (For illustrative purposes only)

Existing trees

Alternative 3 Photomontage: KOP Rheenendal Road Westbound

Existing view

7.6

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IMPACT ASSESSMENT

The Environmental Impact Rating was undertaken according to the criteria provided by Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning ‘Guideline for involving visual and aesthetic specialists in EIA processes: Edition 1’ (Oberholzer, B. 2005.) to determine the significance of the potential impact as a result of the proposed project. Due to constraints identified by Eskom as well as a recommendation from the Heritage Impact Assessment for windrows, a further Alternative was identified.

8.1 DEAD&P Methodology ‘The purpose of this series of guidelines is to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of specialist involvement in EIA processes. To aid decision-making, the assessment and reporting of possible impacts requires consistency in the interpretation of impact assessment criteria. The determination of impact significance needs to consider the predicted impact of the proposed development in light of the vision for the area, rather than in terms of the impact on the current baseline conditions.’ (Oberholzer, B. 2005.)

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Permanent

Extent

Local

Permanent

Extent

Probable

High

Medium

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Medium

Duration

Local

38

This option uses a combination of a simple effective tree screen planted around the building platform as well as a system of berms, ponds and marsh under the powerlines on the northwestern boundary. The intensively landscaped area under the powerlines serves to create a natural focal point close to the receptor thus drawing the eye away from the overhead powerlines. See Mitigations and map in Figure 20.

Motivation

Medium to High

Medium to High

Definite

Medium to High

Duration

Intensity

Impact Assessment Summary Table: Alternative 1

The existing substation is an intrusive manmade structure in an otherwise pastoral landscape. The existing substation is situated on an exposed plateau and is visually stark. The site is already degraded by the existing two transmission lines. The existing tree screening along the road is showing signs of stress and many of the trees have died due to waterlogging. Without mitigation and the location on a plateau with high exposure to sensitive tourist related receptors, there is medium to high visual impact.

Intensity

Probability

8.3

Motivation

Probability

Impact Assessment Summary Table: Status Quo

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Confidence Confidence

8.2

Draft Visual Impact Assessment: April 2014

Significance Significance


Medium

Duration

Permanent

Extent

Probable

High

Medium

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Intensity

Local

Probability

Motivation

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39

See Mitigations and map in Figure 21.

Alternative 2 is a soft option using indigenous trees species which highlights a creative way of reconciling manmade structures in a rural landscape. The revegetation should enhance the local ambience as well as creating screening of the structure. This option creates an effective biodiversity system achieved through community co-operation between Eskom and local landowners. In order for this to be successful:  the waterlogged soil needs to be attended to.  Berms are to be created from soil excavated from ponds and marsh areas between the NW boundary and the building platform and on adjoining farmlands.  Maintenance would be low due to the indigenous nature of the vegetation. (See Figure 21)  The requirement of clustering of trees to allow for more effective indigenous tree ‘forest’ growth, would require more land, and this option would require an agreement with the local farmer to landscape the land around the substation. As further permissions and possible land purchases would be required by Eskom, this alternative would not be feasible.

Impact Assessment Summary Table: Alternative 2 Confidence

8.4

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Significance


Low

Duration

Perman ent

Extent

Probable

High

Medium to high

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Intensity

Local

Probability

Motivation

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40

Alternative 3 restores and re-entrenches the initial tree screening mitigation adjacent the MR355 road undertaken by Eskom. This option involves the following:  Replanting of the compromised screening trees adjacent the road which have died due to water logging. This would require mounding up so as to allow for better drainage and continued maintenance.  Creation of a small berm and low shrubs at the entrance to screen views of the substation as seen from the road.  Planting of a ‘hedgerow’ type low screening wall on the south side of the substation to break up the view of the substation and security fence. It is recommended that the proposed windrow mitigation be planted with a combination of pin oak (Quercus palustris), water oak (Quercus nigra) and Chinese popular (Populus simonii).  The existing north-south aligned pine windrow would be extended (pending permission from landowner) to the south to the MR 355 Rheenendal road, and the tree planting along this road would be extended to the west of the substation entrance.  This alternative is preferred by the Heritage Assessment in that the emphasis is on recreating the existing precedence for windrows, strongly defined by alien trees, which defines the local cultural landscape. See Mitigations and map in Figure 22.

Impact Assessment Summary Table: Alternative 3 Confidence

8.5

Draft Visual Impact Assessment: April 2014

Significance


Draft Visual Impact Assessment: April 2014

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Draft Visual Impact Assessment: April 2014

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Draft Visual Impact Assessment: April 2014

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Figure 22: Leeuwbosch Mitigation Alternative 3 Concept Plan

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9

IMPACT FINDINGS

9.1

Status Quo

Significance The existing Leeuwbosch substation is an intrusive manmade structure in an otherwise pastoral landscape. It is situated on an exposed plateau and is visually stark. The status quo is visually intrusive. This is due to the close proximity of the substation to the road which, in an agrarian landscape, has a moderate to low visual absorption capacity. The existing tree screening initiatives along the road show good intention, but it is likely that the effectiveness will be limited due to waterlogging of the topsoil and the trees planted along and into the road drainage area. Some of the lower lying trees have already died and many of the remaining trees are indicating signs of stress. Tree screening to the west was also not undertaken as the area was covered with pine trees at the time of planting. The area is currently utilised as a plantation and regrowth will take place. During the period of regrowth, the visual intrusion from receptors travelling east will be high. As the views of the substation are likely to remain or have at most limited screening, visual intrusion for the status quo is expected to remain high.

9.2

Alternative 1: Mitigation Measures

Significance This option uses a combination of a simple effective tree screen planted around the building platform as well as a system of berms, ponds and marsh under the powerlines on the northwestern boundary. This particular tree screen is fast growing and will effectively break the visual impact of the substation as viewed from Rheenendal Road and adjacent farmlands except under the powerlines of the NW boundary. (See Figure 20) Preplanning  Create drainage channels around the substation platform with, o Agricultural drain laid in bed of broken stone o Diagonal drainage lines where necessary to safe guard building platform  The suggested agricultural drainage system would only need to be implemented on engineer’s recommendation and will not impact plant growth.  Natural wooden fencing and paving will improve the view from Rheenendal Road. Construction Mitigations would include the combination of a simple effective tree screen around the building platform as well as a system of berms, ponds and marsh under the powerlines on the northwestern boundary. 

Screening tree suggested is Populus simonii (Chinese Poplar Tree): o it has an upright uniform growth pattern, o it does not produce root suckers, o it tolerates wind, heat, drought and waterlogged conditions, o it has a fast, lush growth rate, o it is deciduous, o it attains a height of 8 - 15m and a 2 - 6 m spread in ideal conditions. Conditions on this site could cause some stunted growth,

For sustainable growth trees need to be planted on a berm with a minimum dimension of 500mm high x 2m wide. The tree screen is to be established directly on 3 sides of the building platform with the NW side left clear due to overhead powerlines. Trees should be planted at 4 m intervals.

 

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      

    

The berm is created with the soil from the excavation of a drainage channel. Organic fertilizers should be used when planting trees. Maintenance: apply organic fertilizer every 6 months for 3 years. If necessary pruning, staking and watering should be carried out. Should an open drainage channel prove ineffective, an agricultural drain could be considered under supervision of a qualified engineer. Berm and drainage channel should be stabilised with suitable vegetation so as to prevent erosion but not impede water flow. The additional use of natural wooden fencing at the entrance would serve to intensity the rural character. The construction of an intensively landscaped area under the powerlines serves to create a natural focal point close to the receptor thus drawing the eye away from the overhead powerlines. The landscape shaping serves to create and effective drainage system in order to promote plant growth. Berms serve to create areas for effective screening plant growth, Ponds create water collection points in low lying areas, Marsh areas interconnect ponds and should create a drainage channel in a northeastern direction, Berms created from soil excavated from ponds and marsh. Revegetation of all remaining exposed soil with a mix of suitable indigenous grasses and/or shrublets.

Operation Maintaining above mitigation measures.

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9.3

Alternative 2: Mitigation Measures

Significance This soft option highlights a creative way of reconciling manmade structures in a pastoral landscape. The revegetation should enhance the local ambience as well as create screening of the structure. In order to create vegetative screening the waterlogged soil needs to be attended to. This option creates an effective biodiversity system achieved through community co-operation between Eskom and local landowners. The intensively landscaped area under the powerlines serves to create a natural focal point close to the receptor thus drawing the eye away from the overhead powerlines. Berms are to be created from soil excavated from ponds and marsh areas between the NW boundary and the building platform and on adjoining farmlands. (See Figure 21)

Preplanning  Facilitate drainage solution  Drainage lines adjusting level to efficiently drain water away from trees.  Palisade fencing and paving will improve the view from Rheenendal Road.  Indigenous tree option with farmers co-operation  The landscaping option will be wider and need more space

Construction Mitigation includes the creation of an effective biodiversity system by intensive landscape shaping which serves to create an effective drainage system in order to promote plant growth.  Berms serve to create areas for effective screening plant growth and are created from soil excavated from ponds and marsh.  Ponds create water collection points in low lying areas,  Marsh areas interconnect ponds and create drainage channels,  Revegetation of all remaining exposed soil with a mix of suitable indigenous grasses and/or shrublets.  The additional use of natural wooden fencing at the entrance would serve to intensity the rural character.  On the adjoining farmlands berms are to be created from soil excavated from ponds and marsh areas along the southwestern and northwestern boundaries and the building platform.  The landscaping option will need more space and require co-operation with farmers.  Land should be reshaped into gently undulating swales to create better drainage, as indicated on sketch, and with that a new opportunity for better quality grazing and increased yield.  Berms to be created from excavated soil and planted with indigenous trees.  Trees should be planted in groups for shelter. Operation Maintaining above mitigation measures.

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9.4

Alternative 3: Mitigation Measures

Significance This alternative is preferred by the Heritage Assessment in that the emphasis is on recreating the existing precedence for windrows which define the local cultural landscape. (See Figure 22) Preplanning  Obtain permissions from landowners / managers for the planting of trees within the road reserve and on adjacent lands Construction 

   

Alternative 3 restores and re-entrenches the initial tree screening mitigation adjacent the MR355 road undertaken by Eskom. Unfortunately, due to a high water table at certain areas along the road, much of the initial tree growth has been compromised due to water logging. It is unlikely that indigenous trees can be successfully planted as a windrow due to these wet and clay soil factors; without high costs as each tree would require approx. two cubes of topsoil and continued maintenance. To increase confidence in the mitigation, it is recommended that the proposed windrow mitigation be planted with a combination of pin oak (Quercus palustris), water oak (Quercus nigra) and Chinese popular (Populus simonii). In certain areas it might be possible to plant water berry (Syzygium cordatum) but with lowered confidence and possible reduced growth (discretion should be placed on the Landscape Architect to determine which trees would be best suited for the particular site to facilitate the required screening effects). The cultural landscape is strongly defined by alien tree windrows. Thus this proposed combination of non-indigenous trees would tie into the cultural landscape context. Creation of a small berm and low shrubs at the entrance to screen views of the substation as seen from the road. Planting of a ‘hedgerow’ type low screening shrubs on the south side of the substation to break up the view of the substation and security fence. Planting of screening trees to extend the existing north-south aligned pine windrow to the road (pending permission from landowner) Planting of trees to the west of the substation entrance to assist in screening the views as seen from road receptors travelling southeast

Operation Maintaining above mitigation measures.

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9.5

Suggested Species for Alternative 1 and 2

Swamps:  Restios  Arum lilies (zantedeschia aethiopica)  Sedges - mixed on embankment  Wachendorfia (thrysiflora)  Iphofoa praecox Ponds:  Water lily (nymphaea)  Water blommetjies  Sedges - mixed on embankment Indigenous trees berm: Suggested species  Hallvia lucinda  Buddlia salinga  Rhus chirendensus/ incdia/ tomentosa  Erica species (speciosia, canaliculata)  Gonabos (passerina)  Watsonia sp  Bitou sp  Helichrysum sp Fynbos berm:  Rhus incdia/ tomentosa  Erica species (speciosia, canaliculata)  Gonabos (passerina) sp  Watsonia sp  Bitou sp  Helichrysum sp 9.6 Suggested Species for Alternative 3 Indigenous shrub screening for substation south facing security fence: Suggested species  Rhus incidia/ tomentosa/ lucida  Erica species (speciosia, canaliculata)  Gonabos (passerina) sp  Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis)  Cape Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata)  Bitou sp  Helichrysum sp Potential trees included in windrow:  Pin Oak tree (Quercus palustris),

  

Water oak (Quercus nigra) Chinese popular (Populus simonii) Water berry (Syzygium cordatum)

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10 CONCLUSION The existing Leeuwbosch substation is a large manmade structure in an otherwise pastoral landscape. It is situated on an exposed plateau and is visually intrusive. This is due to the close proximity of the substation to the road which, in an agrarian landscape, has a moderate to low visual absorption capacity. The existing tree screening initiative along the MR 355 road shows good intention. Unfortunately, due to the waterlogged topsoil and the trees having been planted along and into the road drainage line, it is unlikely that these trees will thrive. Some of the lower lying trees have already died and many of the remaining trees are indicating signs of stress. Tree screening to the west was also not undertaken as the area was covered with pine trees at the time of planting. The area is currently utilised as a plantation and regrowth will take place. During the period of regrowth, the visual intrusion of the substation to receptors travelling east will be high. As the views of the substation are likely to remain or have at most limited screening, visual intrusion for the status quo is expected to remain high. Three proposals have been defined to assist in reducing the visual impact to moderate as per the defined Visual Resource Management Class III objective: Alternative 1 uses a combination of simple effective tree screens planted around the building platform as well as a system of berms, ponds and marsh under the powerlines on the northwestern boundary. The suggested screening tree is the Populus simonii, (Chinese Poplar Tree). Although not indigenous, this particular tree screen is fast growing, can grow in wet conditions, is effective as a wind break and will effectively break the visual impact of the substation as viewed from Rheenendal Road and adjacent farmlands, excepting under the powerlines of the NW boundary. The trees attain a height of 8 - 15m and a 2 - 6 m spread in ideal conditions. Maintenance would be low. (See Figure 20) Due to the waterlogging, drainage would need to be addressed as part of any planting strategy. Due to continued maintenance required to reduce the height of the trees in order to ensure that windfall damage does not take place, this option was not preferred by Eskom. Alternative 2 is a soft option using indigenous trees species which highlights a creative way of reconciling manmade structures in a rural landscape. The revegetation should enhance the local ambience as well as creating screening of the structure. In order for this to be successful the waterlogged soil needs to be attended to. This option creates an effective biodiversity system achieved through community co-operation between Eskom and local landowners. The intensively landscaped area under the powerlines serves to create a natural focal point close to the receptor thus drawing the eye away from the overhead powerlines. Berms are to be created from soil excavated from ponds and marsh areas between the NW boundary and the building platform and on adjoining farmlands. Maintenance would be low due to the indigenous nature of the vegetation. (See Figure 21) The requirement of clustering of trees to allow for more effective indigenous tree ‘forest’ growth, would require more land, and this option would require an agreement with the local farmer to landscape the land around the substation. As further permissions and possible land purchases would be required by Eskom, this alternative would not be feasible. Alternative 3 restores and re-entrenches the initial tree screening mitigation adjacent the MR355 road undertaken by Eskom. Unfortunately, due to a high water table at certain areas along the road, much of the initial tree growth has been compromised due to water logging. It is unlikely that indigenous trees can be successfully planted as a windrow due to these wet and clay soil factors; without high costs as each tree would require approx. two cubes of topsoil and continued maintenance. To increase confidence in the mitigation, it is recommended that the proposed windrow mitigation be planted with a combination of pin oak (Quercus palustris), water oak (Quercus nigra) and Chinese popular (Populus simonii). In certain areas it might be possible to plant water berry (Syzygium cordatum) but with lowered confidence and possible reduced growth (discretion should be placed on the Landscape Architect to determine which trees would be best suited for the particular site to facilitate the required screening effects). The cultural landscape is strongly defined by alien tree windrows. Thus this proposed combination of non-indigenous trees would tie into the cultural landscape context. A hedgerow type screening effect would also be planted adjacent the substation to the south to partially screen the security fence from the view of receptors. In addition, screening scrubs planted PROPOSED ESKOM LEEUWBOSCH SUBSTATION PROJECT

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onto a low berm at the entrance to the substation would enhance the entrance view and break up views. The existing north-south aligned pine windrow would be extended (pending permission from landowner) to the south to the MR 355 Rheenendal road, and the tree planting along this road would be extended to the west of the substation entrance. Alternative 3 is the preferred mitigation in that it extends and re-emphasises the initial mitigation measures by Eskom. This mitigation is also preferred in that it aligns with the Heritage Assessment findings which re-emphasises the importance of recreating the existing precedence for windrows which define the local cultural landscape.

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11 REFERENCES 1. ASTER GDEM. METI / NASA. 2009. Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) Global Digital Elevation Model Version 2 (GDEM V2 2011). Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) of Japan and United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Source: https://lpdaac.usgs.gov. 2. BLM. USDI. 2004. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of Interior. 2004. Visual Resource Management Manual 8400. 3. Douglas Euston-Brown. 2013. Flora and Fauna Assessment of Phantom Substation sites in Knysna, Western Cape. 4. Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). 1997. Considering Cumulative Effects Under the (USA) National Environmental Policy Act. http://ceq.hss.doe.gov/nepa/ccenepa/exec.pdf. 5. Hull, R.B. and Bishop, I.E. (1988), Scenic Impacts of Electricity Power Mine: The Influence of Landscape Type and Observer Distance. Journal of Environmental Management.1988 (27) Pg 99-108. 6. Lange, E. 1994: Integration of computerized visual Simulation and visual Assessment in environmental Planning. Landscape and Urban Planning. 7. Oberholzer, B. 2005. Guideline for involving visual and aesthetic specialists in EIA processes: Edition 1. CSIR Report No ENV-S-C 2005 053 F. Republic of South Africa, Provincial Government of the Western Cape, Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Cape Town. 8. Sheppard, S.R.J. 2005. Validity, reliability, and ethics in visualization. In: Bishop, I. & Lange, E. (Eds.) Visualization in Landscape and Environmental Planning: Technology and Applications. Taylor and Francis, London. Chapter 5, pp. 79-97. Source: www.calp.forestry.ubc.ca/Coe of Ethics_July03.pdf. 9. U.K Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). ‘Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment’ Second Edition, Spon Press, 2002. Pg 44.

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12 ANNEXURE 1: EXISTING COMPROMISED TREES Existing trees surrounding Leeuwbosch The photographs below show some of the existing compromised indigenous trees that have been planted along the Rheenendal road by Eskom. Due to the existing space, soil and waterlogging constraints, it is unlikely that indigenous tree growth would be successfully sustained in this area in the existing conditions (without high costs due to importing topsoil and continued maintenance)

Photograph of Tree 1

Photograph of Tree 2

Photograph of Tree 3

Photograph of Tree 4

Photograph of Tree 5

Photograph of Tree 6

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13 ANNEXURE 2: SPECIALIST DETAILS 13.1

Declaration of Independence

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13.2

Curriculum Vitae Curriculum Vitae (CV)

1. Position:

Owner / Director

2. Name of Firm:

Visual Resource Management Africa cc (www.vrma.co.za)

3. Name of Staff:

Stephen Stead

4. Date of Birth:

9 June 1967

5. Nationality:

South African

6. Contact Details:

Tel: +27 (0) 44 876 0020 Cell: +27 (0) 83 560 9911 Email: steve@vrma.co.za

7. Educational qualifications: - University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg): Bachelor of Arts: Psychology and Geography; and Bachelor of Arts (Hons): Human Geography and Geographic Information Management Systems. 8. Professional Accreditation  Association of Professional Heritage Practitioners (APHP) Western Cape o Accredited VIA practitioner member of the Association (2011) 9. Association involvement: :  International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA) South African Affiliate o Past President (2012 - 2013); o President (2012); o President-Elect (2011); o Conference Co-ordinator (2010); o National Executive Committee member (2009); and o Southern Cape Chairperson (2008). 10. Conferences Attended:  IAIAsa 2012;  IAIAsa 2011;  IAIA International 2011 (Mexico);  IAIAsa 2010;  IAIAsa 2009; and  IAIAsa 2007. 11. Continued Professional Development:  Integrating Sustainability with Environment Assessment in South Africa (IAIAsa Conference, 1 day)  Achieving the full potential of SIA (Mexico, IAIA Conference, 2 days 2011)  Researching and Assessing Heritage Resources Course (University of Cape Town, 5 days, 2009) 12. Countries of Work Experience:  South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Kenya and Namibia

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13. Relevant Experience: Stephen gained six years of experience in the field of Geographic Information Systems mapping and spatial analysis working as a consultant for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health and then with an Environmental Impact Assessment company based in the Western Cape. In 2004 he set up the company Visual Resource Management Africa which specializes in visual resource management and visual impact assessments in Africa. The company makes use of the well documented Visual Resource Management methodology developed by the Bureau of Land Management (USA) for assessing the suitability of landscape modifications. In association with ILASA qualified landscape architect Liesel Stokes, he has assessed of over 100 major landscape modifications through-out southern and eastern Africa. The business has been operating for eight years and has successfully established and retained a large client base throughout Southern Africa which include amongst other, Rio Tinto (Pty) Ltd, Bannerman (Pty) Ltd, Anglo Coal (Pty) Ltd, Eskom (Pty) Ltd, NamPower and Vale (Pty) Ltd, Ariva (Pty) Ltd, Harmony Gold (Pty) Ltd, Mellium Challenge Account (USA), Pretoria Portland Cement (Pty) Ltd 14. Languages:  English – First Language  Afrikaans – fair in speaking, reading and writing 15. Projects: A list of some of the large scale projects that VRMA has assessed has been attached below with the client list indicated per project (Refer to www.vrma.co.za for a full list of projects undertaken). YEAR

NAME

2013 2013 2013 2013

Houwhoek Eskom Substation Drennan PV Mulilo PV Project CWDM Landfill Site

2012 2012 2012

Afrisam Saldanha Ncondezi Power Station MET Housing Etosha Amended MCDM Kangnas Wind Kangnas PV Rossing Z20 Infrastructure Corridor MET Housing Etosha Qwale Mineral Sands Houhoek Substation Bannerman Etango Mine Phase 2 Letseng Diamond Power Line Upgrade Letseng Diamond Mine Projet Kholo Drennan PV George Social Infrastructure Lunsklip Windfarm Hoodia Solar Bitterfontein

2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012 2012

Bitterfontein slopes

2012 2012 2012

Knysna Affordable Housing KAH Hornlee Project

2012 2012

Otjikoto Gold Mine Mozambique Gas Engine Power Plant SAPPI Boiler Upgrade

2012

Kobong Hydro

DESCRIPTIO N Substation PV PV Landfill

CLIENT

LOCATION

Eskom

W Cape E Cape N Cape W Cape

Mulilo CWDM

Mine Plant Residential

AfriSAM Ncondezi Coal Millennium Challenge

Saldana (W Cape) Mozambique

Energy Energy Infrastructur e Housing Mine Power Mining

Mainstream Renewable Power SA Mainstream Renewable Power SA

N Cape N Cape

Rio Tinto

Namibia

MET Base Resources Eskom Bannerman

Namibia Kenya Western Cape Namibia

Power line

Gem Diaminds

Lesotho

Mine

Gem Diamonds

Lesotho

PV Analysis Windfarm PV expansion Energy Slopes Analysis Residential Residential Dam / Power line Mining

Namibia

WEPTEAM

Eastern Cape George Stilbaai Beaufort West N Cape

WEPTEAM

N Cape

Knysna Municipality Knysna Municipality

Knysna Knysna

Lesotho Highlands Water

Lesotho

ASEC

Namibia

Plant

Sasol

Mozambique

Plant

SAPPI

Mpumalanga

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George Municipal Area Bergwind

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Draft Visual Impact Assessment: April 2014 2012 2012

Upington CSP Rossing Z20 Mine

solar Power Mining

2012

Eastern Cape Mari-culture

Mari-culture

2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011

Vodacom Mast Weldon Kaya Hornlee Erongo Uranium Rush SEA Damkoppie Moquini Hotel Bon Accord Nickel Mine Rossing Uranium Mine Phase 2 Rossing South Board Meeting Floating Liquified Natural Gas Facility

2011

Khanyisa Power Station

Sasol Rio Tinto Department of Agriculture, forestry and Fisheries

Northern Cape Namibia

Structure Residential Housing SEA Residential Structure Mine Mining Mining

Vodacom Private ABSA SAIEA Private Costa Zeerva Developments African Nickel Rio Tinto Rio Tinto

Reichterbosch Plettenberg Bay Knysna Namibia Western Cape Western Cape Barbeton Namibia Namibia

Structure

PetroSA

Mossel Bay

Anglo Coal

Western Cape

PPC VALE VALE VALE VALE VALE

Western Cape Mozambique Mozambique Mozambique Mozambique Mozambique Northern Cape Beaufort West Beaufort West Beaufort West Herolds Bay George Western Cape Western Cape Western Cape George

Power Station Industrial Mining_rail Mining_rail Mining_rail Mining_rail Mining_rail Solar Power Mapping PV Slopes Residential Road Mast Mast Dam Road Industrial Mining Dam Solar Power Solar Power

Western Cape

2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011 2011

PPC Rheebieck West Upgrade Vale Moatize Railway 1 Vale Moatize Coal Mine Vale Moatize Railway 2 Vale Moatize Railway 3 Vale Moatize Railway 4 Olvyn Kolk PV Beaufort West Urban Edge ERF 7288 PV Erf 7288 Beaufort West N2 Herolds Bay Residental Southern Arterial De Bakke Cell Phone Mast Ruitesbosch Wadrif Dam George Western Bypass Gecko Namibia Hartenbos Quarry Extension Wadrif Dam Kathu CSP Sasolburg CSP

2010 2010 2010

George SDF Structure

George Municipal Area Knysna Municipality

George Sedgefield

George SDF

George Municipal Area

George

George SDF Residential Road Residential Structure Residential Residential Mapping Power

George Municipal Area Theo Ciliers Mossel Bay Municipality MTN KDFM Hoogkwatier Landgoed Eskom Eskom

George Mossel Bay Victoria Bay Mossel Bay George George Great Brak Western Cape Eastern Cape

Residenti

Private

George

2010 2010 2010

George Open Spaces System Sedgefield Water Works George Visual Resource Management George Municipality SDF Green View Estates Wolwe Eiland Access Route Asazani Zinyoka UISP Housing MTN Lattice Hub Tower Destiny Africa Farm Dwarsweg 260 Bantamsklip GIS Mapping Bantamsklip Power Revision Le Grand Golf and Residential Estate Ladywood Farm 437 Pezula Infill (Noetzie) Stonehouse Development

Residential Residential Residential

Private Pezula Golf Estate Private

Plettenberg Bay Knysna Plettenberg Bay

2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009

Eden Telecommunication Tower Walvis Bay Power Station OCGT Power Plant Extension Rossing Uranium Mine Phase 1 RUL Sulpher Handling Facility Boggomsbaai Still Bay East

Tower Structure Power Plant Mining Mining Slopes Mapping

Africon Engineering NamPower Eskom Rio Tinto Rio Tinto Private DelPlan

George Namibia. Mossel Bay Namibia Walvis Bay Boggomsbaai SA, WC

2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010 2010

PROPOSED ESKOM LEEUWBOSCH SUBSTATION PROJECT

Willem de Kock Planners

MMS Developers George Municipality Vodacom Vodacom Plett Municipality George Municipal Area Vision Industrial Park Onifin(Pty) Ltd Plettenberg Municipality

Mossel Bay Beaufort West Northern Cape Free State

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Draft Visual Impact Assessment: April 2014 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009 2009

Bannerman Etango Uranium Mine George Municipality Densification Oudtshoorn Municipality SDF Harmony Gold Mine Ryst Kuil/Riet Kuil Uranium Mine Trekkopje Uranium Mine Calitzdorp Retirement Village Wilderness Erf 2278 Wolwe Eiland Eco & Nature Estate Zebra Clay Mine Fancourt Visualisation Modelling Erf 251 Damage Assessment Lagoon Bay Lifestyle Estate Lagoon Garden Estate Moquini Beach Hotel Knysna River Reserve Paradyskloof Residential Estate

Mining George SDF Mapping Mining Mining Mining Residential Residential Residential Mining Visualisation Residential Residential Residential Resort Residential Residential

Bannerman George Municipal Area Oudtshoorn Municipality Harmony Turgis Trekkopje Uranium Mine Pretorius Family Trust Albert Hanekom Theo Ciliers Private Fancourt Golf Estate Private Lagoon Bay Estate Dreamveldt Kostas Zervas Private Private

Namibia George Oudtshoorn Mpumalanga. Beaufort West Namibia Calitzdorp Wilderness Victoria Bay Zebra George Great Brak Glentana Great Brak Mossel Bay Knysna Stellenbosch

2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008

Trekkopje Desalination Plant Hartenbos Landgoed Phase 2 Hartenbos River Park Hersham Security Village Kaaimans Project Kloofsig Development Rheebok Development Erf 252 Apeal Riverhill Residential Estate Camdeboo Estate Oasis Development Outeniquabosch Safari Park George Airport Radar Tower Lakes Eco and Golf Estate Pinnacle Point Golf Estate Paradise Coast Fynboskruin Extention Gansevallei Hanglip Golf and Residential Estate Proposed Hotel Farm Gansevallei Uitzicht Development

Structure Residential Residential Residential Residential Residential

Trekkopje Uranium Mine Willem van Rensburg Adlequelle Private Fritz Fenter Muller Murray Trust

Namibia Hartenbos Hartenbos Great Brak Wilderness Vleesbaai

Residential

Farm Searles

Great Brak

Residential Resort Residential Residential Tower Residential Residential Residential Residential Residential Residential Resort Residential Slopes Analysis Mapping Mapping Visualisation Residential Residential

Theo Cilliers Private Private Private ACSA Private Private Private Ballabarn Three Pieter Badenhorst Pieter Badenhorst Wendy Floyd Planners Private

Wilderness Graaff Reinet Plettenberg Bay Mossel Bay George Sedgefield Mossel Bay Mossel Bay Sedgefield Plettenberg Bay Plettenberg Bay Plettenberg Bay Knysna

Private

George

SetPlan George SetPlan SetPlan George Private Private

Knysna Western Cape De Rust Knysna Knysna

Durban Municipality

Durban

2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 2008

Hansmoeskraal

2008 2008 2008 2008 2008

Kruisfontein Infill Mount View Tourist Distination Welgevonden Pierpoint Nature Reserve West Dunes

1998

Greater Durban Informal Housing Analysis

GIS

Certification: I confirm that the above CV is an accurate description of my experience and qualifications and that I am available to serve in the position indicated for me in the proposal for this project. Yours faithfully,

______________________ Stephen Stead, Director PROPOSED ESKOM LEEUWBOSCH SUBSTATION PROJECT

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14 ANNEXURE 3: METHODOLOGY Visual impact is defined as ‘the effect of an aspect of the development on a specified component of the visual, aesthetic or scenic environment within a defined time and space.’ (Oberholzer, B., 2005). As identified in this definition, ‘landscapes are considerably more than just the visual perception of a combination of landform, vegetation cover and buildings, as they embody the history, landuse, human culture, wildlife and seasonal changes to an area.’ (U.K IEMA, 2002). These elements combine to produce distinctive local character that will affect the way in which the landscape is valued and perceived. VRM Africa’s objective is to provide Interested and Affected Parties (I&APs) and decision-makers with sufficient information to take “early opportunities for avoidance of negative visual effects.” This is based on the U.K. and Assessment’s (IEMA), and South Africa’s Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning’s (DEA&DP), guidelines:  “The ideal strategy for each identifiable, negative effect is one of avoidance. If this is not possible, alternative strategies of reduction, remediation and compensation may be explored. If the consideration of mitigation measures is left to the later stages of scheme design, this can result in increased mitigation costs because early opportunities for avoidance of negative visual effects are missed.”(U.K IEMA, 2002).  “In order to retain the visual quality and landscape character, management actions must become an essential part of the guidelines throughout construction and operation. Proper management actions ensure that the lowest possible impact is created by the proposed project.  Ongoing monitoring programmes, with regard to the control of aesthetic aspects, for all stages of the proposed project, are a vital component, ensuring that the long-term visual management objectives are met.”(Oberholzer, B., 2005). The impact assessment methodology that VRM Africa uses is based on the VRM methodology developed by the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in that the study involves the measurement of contrast in the form, line, texture and colour of the proposed landscape modification, against the same elements found in the natural landscape. The contrast rating is a systematic process undertaken from KOPs surrounding the proposed project site, and the assessment of the degree of contrast (DoC) is used to evaluate the potential visual impacts associated with the proposed landscape modifications. The method is based on the premise that the degree to which a proposed landscape modification affects the visual quality of a landscape depends on the visual contrast created between a project and the existing landscape (USA Bureau of Land Management, 2004). Landscape Significance Landscape significance is assessed in order to highlight the nature and degree of significance of the landscape context by differentiating between those landscapes of recognized or potential significance or sensitivity to modification to those landscape contexts that have low sensitivity and scenic value. ‘Different levels of scenic values require different levels of management. For example, management of an area with high scenic value might be focused on preserving the existing character of the landscape, and management of an area with little scenic value might allow for major modifications to the landscape. Determining how an area should be managed first requires an assessment of the area’s scenic values. Assessing scenic values and determining visual impacts can be a subjective process. Objectivity and consistency can be greatly increased by using standard assessment criteria to describe and evaluate landscapes, and to also describe proposed projects.’ (USA Bureau of Land Management, 2004). Viewshed Analysis A viewshed is ‘the outer boundary defining a view catchment area, usually along crests and ridgelines’ (Oberholzer, B., 2005). This reflects the area within which, or the extent to which, the landscape modification is likely to be seen. It is important to assess the extent to which the proposed landscape modifications are visible in the surrounding landscape, as a point of departure for defining the shared landscape context, and to identify the receptors making use of the common views. PROPOSED ESKOM LEEUWBOSCH SUBSTATION PROJECT

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Viewshed analyses are not absolute indicators of the level of significance, but an indication of potential visibility (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, 2002). Once the sites and heights of the proposed activities have been finalised, the viewshed analysis will be undertaken. Receptor Exposure The area where a landscape modification starts to influence the landscape character is termed the Zone of Visual Influence (ZVI) and is defined by the U.K. Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) publication ‘Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment’ as ‘the area within which a proposed development may have an influence or effect on visual amenity (of the surrounding areas).’ The inverse relationship of distance and visual impact is well recognised in visual analysis literature (Hull, R.B. and Bishop, I.E., 1988). According to Hull and Bishop, exposure, or visual impact, tends to diminish exponentially with distance. The areas where most landscape modifications would be visible are located within 2 km from the site of the landscape modification. Thus the potential visual impact of an object diminishes at an exponential rate as the distance between the observer and the object increases due to atmospheric conditions prevalent at a location, which causes the air to appear greyer, thereby diminishing detail. For example, viewed from 1000 m from a landscape modification, the impact would be 25% of the impact as viewed from 500 m from a landscape modification. At 2000m it would be 10% of the impact at 500 m. The relationship is indicated in the following graph generated by Hull and Bishop.

Distance Zones The VRM methodology also takes distance from a landscape modification into consideration in terms of understanding visual resource. Three distance categories are defined by the Bureau of Land Management. The distance zones are: 1. Foreground / Middle ground, up to approximately 6km, which is where there is potential for the sense of place to change; 2. Background areas, from 6km to 24km, where there is some potential for change in the sense of place, but where change would only occur in the case of very large landscape modifications; and 3. Seldom seen areas, which fall within the Foreground / Middle ground area but, as a result of no receptors, are not viewed or are seldom viewed. Scenic Quality In the VRM methodology, scenic quality is a measure of the visual appeal of a tract of land. In the visual resource inventory process, public lands are given a rating based on the apparent scenic quality, which is determined using seven key factors. During the rating process, each of these factors is ranked on a comparative basis with similar features in the region (USA Bureau of Land Management, 2004). These seven elements are: 1. Landform: Topography becomes more interesting as it gets steeper, or more massive, or more severely or universally sculptured. 2. Vegetation: Give primary consideration to the variety of patterns, forms, and textures created by plant life. Consider short-lived displays when they are known to be recurring or spectacular. Also consider smaller-scale vegetation features which add striking and intriguing detail elements to the land. PROPOSED ESKOM LEEUWBOSCH SUBSTATION PROJECT

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3. Water: That ingredient which adds movement or serenity to a scene. The degree to which water dominates the scene is the primary consideration. 4. Colour: Consider the overall colour(s) of the basic components of the landscape (e.g., soil, rock, vegetation, etc.) as they appear during seasons or periods of high use. Key factors to use when rating "colour" are variety, contrast and harmony. 5. Scarcity: This factor provides an opportunity to give added importance to one, or all, of the scenic features that appear to be relatively unique or rare within one physiographic region. 6. Adjacent Land Use: Degree to which scenery, outside the scenery unit being rated, enhances the overall impression of the scenery within the rating unit. The distance, at which adjacent scenery will start to influence scenery within the rating unit ranges, depending upon the characteristics of the topography, the vegetative cover, and other such factors. 7. Cultural Modifications: Cultural modifications in the landform, water, and vegetation, and addition of structures, should be considered, and may detract from the scenery in the form of a negative intrusion, or complement or improve the scenic quality of a unit. Receptor Sensitivity Rating Criteria A= scenic quality rating of ≥19; B = rating of 12 – 18; and C= rating of ≤11. Scenic Quality Rating Questionnaire KEY FACTORS

RATING CRITERIA AND SCORE

SCORE

5

3

1

Land Form

High vertical relief as expressed in prominent cliffs, spires or massive rock outcrops, or severe surface variation or highly eroded formations including dune systems: or detail features that are dominating and exceptionally striking and intriguing.

Steep-sided river valleys, or interesting erosion patterns or variety in size and shape of landforms; or detail features that are interesting, though not dominant or exceptional.

Low rolling hills, foothills or flat valley bottoms; few or no interesting landscape features.

Vegetation

A variety of vegetative Some variety of Little or no variety or types as expressed in vegetation, but only one contrast in vegetation. interesting forms, textures or two major types. and patterns.

Water

Clear and clean appearing, Flowing, or still, but not still or cascading white dominant in the water, any of which are a landscape. dominant factor in the landscape.

Absent, or present but not noticeable.

Colour

Rich colour combinations, variety or vivid colour: or pleasing contrasts in the soil, rock, vegetation, water.

Some intensity or variety in colours and contrast of the soil, rock and vegetation, but not a dominant scenic element.

Subtle colour variations contrast or interest: generally mute tones.

Adjacent Scenery

Adjacent scenery greatly enhances visual quality.

Scarcity

One of a kind: unusually memorable, or very rare

Adjacent scenery moderately enhances overall visual quality. Distinctive, though somewhat similar to

Adjacent scenery has little or no influence on overall visual quality. Interesting within its setting, but fairly

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SCORE Cultural Modification

within region. Consistent chance for exceptional wildlife or wildflower viewing etc. 2

others within the region. common within the region.

0

-4

Modifications add Modifications add little or favourably to visual variety, no visual variety to the while promoting visual area, and introduce no harmony. discordant elements.

Modifications add variety but are very discordant and promote strong disharmony.

Receptor Sensitivity Sensitivity levels are a measure of public concern for scenic quality. Public lands are assigned high, medium or low sensitivity levels by analysing the various indicators of public concern. The following criteria were used to assess the sensitivity of each of the communities:  Public Interest: The visual quality of an area may be of concern to local, state, or national groups. Indicators of this concern are usually expressed in public meetings, letters, newspaper or magazine articles, newsletters, landuse plans, etc. Public controversy, created in response to proposed activities that would change the landscape character, should also be considered.  Special Areas: Management objectives for special areas such as natural areas, wilderness areas or wilderness study areas, wild and scenic rivers, scenic areas, scenic roads or trails, and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), frequently require special consideration for the protection of visual values. This does not necessarily mean that these areas are scenic, but rather that one of the management objectives may be to preserve the natural landscape setting. The management objectives for these areas may be used as a basis for assigning sensitivity levels.  Adjacent Land Uses: The interrelationship with land uses in adjacent land can affect the visual sensitivity of an area. For example, an area within the viewshed of a residential area may be very sensitive, whereas an area surrounded by commercially developed lands may not be visually sensitive.  Type of User: Visual sensitivity will vary with the type of users. Recreational sightseers may be highly sensitive to any changes in visual quality, whereas workers who pass through the area on a regular basis may not be as sensitive to change.  Amount of Use: Areas seen and used by large numbers of people are potentially more sensitive. Protection of visual values usually becomes more important as the number of viewers increase (USA Bureau of Land Management, 2004). Receptor Sensitivity Rating Criteria The level of visual impact considered acceptable is dependent on the types of receptors.  High sensitivity : e.g. residential areas, nature reserves and scenic routes or trails  Moderate sensitivity : e.g. sporting or recreational areas, or places of work  Low sensitivity : e.g. industrial, mining or degraded areas Sensitivity Level Rating Questionnaire FACTORS

QUESTIONS

Type of Users

Maintenance of visual quality is:

Amount of use

A major concern for most users

High

A moderate concern for most users

Moderate

A low concern for most users

Low

Maintenance of visual quality becomes more important as the level of use increases: A high level of use

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Public interest

Adjacent land Users

Special Areas

Moderately level of use

Moderate

Low level of use

Low

Maintenance of visual quality: A major concern for most users

High

A moderate concern for most users

Moderate

A low concern for most users

Low

Maintenance of visual quality to sustain adjacent land use objectives is: Very important

High

Moderately important

Moderate

Slightly important

Low

Maintenance of visual quality to sustain Special Area management objectives is: Very important

High

Moderately important

Moderate

Slightly important

Low

Key Observation Points (KOPs) KOPs are defined by the BLM Visual Resource Management as the people located in strategic locations surrounding the property that make consistent use of the views associated with the site where the landscape modifications are proposed. These locations are used to assess the suitability of the proposed landscape modifications by means of assessing the degree of contrast of the proposed landscape modifications to the existing landscape, taking into consideration the visual management objectives defined for the area. The following selection criteria were utilised in defining the KOPs:  Angle of observation;  Number of viewers;  Length of time the proposed project is in view;  Relative proposed project size;  Season of use;  Critical viewpoints, e.g. views from communities, road crossings; and  Distance from property. VRM Classes The landscape character of the proposed project site is surveyed to identify areas of common landuse and landscape character. These areas are then evaluated in terms of scenic quality (landscape significance) and receptor sensitivity to landscape change (of the site) in order to define the visual objective for the proposed project site. The overall objective is to maintain a landscape’s integrity, but this can be achieved at varying levels, called VRM Classes, depending on various factors, including the visual absorption capacity of a site (i.e., how much of the proposed project would be “absorbed” or “disappear” into the landscape). The areas identified on site are categorised into these Classes by using a matrix from the BLM Visual Resource Management method as seen below, which is then represented in a visual sensitivity map

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The BLM has defined four Classes that represent the relative value of the visual resources of an area: i. Classes I and II are the most valued ii. Class III represents a moderate value iii. Class IV is of least value

VISUAL SENSITIVITY LEVELS High Medium II

II

II

II

II

II

II

II

II

B (Medium)

II

III

III/ IV *

III

IV

IV

IV

IV

IV

C (Low)

III

IV

IV

IV

IV

IV

IV

IV

IV

fore/middle ground

Background

seldom seen

fore/middle ground

background

seldom seen

fore/middle ground

background

seldom seen

SCENIC QUALITY

Low

A (High)

DISTANCE ZONES

(A = scenic quality rating of ≥19; B = rating of 12 – 18, C = rating of ≤11) * If adjacent areas are Class III or lower, assign Class III, if higher, assign Class IV

Evaluation of the suitability of a proposed landscape modification is undertaken by means of assessing the proposed modification against a predefined management objective assigned to each class. The VRM class objectives are defined as follows: 1. The Class I objective is to preserve the existing character of the landscape, where the level of change to the characteristic landscape should be very low, and must not attract attention. Class I is assigned to those areas where a specialist decision has been made to maintain a natural landscape. 2. The Class II objective is to retain the existing character of the landscape and the level of change to the characteristic landscape should be low. Management activities may be seen, but should not attract the attention of the casual observer, and should repeat the basic elements of form, line, colour and texture found in the predominant natural features of the characteristic landscape. 3. The Class III objective is to partially retain the existing character of the landscape, where the level of change to the characteristic landscape should be moderate. Management activities may attract attention, but should not dominate the view of the casual observer, and changes should repeat the basic elements found in the predominant natural features of the characteristic landscape. 4. The Class IV objective is to provide for management activities which require major modifications of the existing character of the landscape. The level of change to the landscape can be high, and these management activities may dominate the view and be the major focus of the viewer’s (s’) attention. Photo Montages and 3D Visualisation As a component in this contrast rating process, visual representation, such as photo montages are vital in large-scale modifications, as this serves to inform I&APs and decision-making authorities of the nature and extent of the impact associated with the proposed project. There is an ethical obligation in this process, as visualisation can be misleading if not undertaken ethically. In terms of adhering to standards for ethical representation of landscape modifications, VRM Africa subscribes to the proposed Interim Code of Ethics for Landscape Visualisation developed by the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP) (July 2003)(Sheppard, S.R.J., 2005). This code states that professional presenters of realistic landscape visualisations are responsible for promoting full understanding of proposed landscape changes, providing an honest and neutral visual representation of the expected landscape, by seeking to avoid bias in responses and demonstrating the legitimacy of the visualisation process. Presenters of landscape visualisations should adhere to the principles of: PROPOSED ESKOM LEEUWBOSCH SUBSTATION PROJECT

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     

Access to Information Accuracy Legitimacy Representativeness Visual Clarity Interest

The Code of Ethical Conduct states that the presenter should:  Demonstrate an appropriate level of qualification and experience.  Use visualisation tools and media that are appropriate to the purpose.  Choose the appropriate level of realism.  Identify, collect and document supporting visual data available for, or used in, the visualisation process.  Conduct an on-site visual analysis to determine important issues and views.  Seek community input on viewpoints and landscape issues to address in the visualisations.  Provide the viewer with a reasonable choice of viewpoints, view directions, view angles, viewing conditions and timeframes appropriate to the area being visualised.  Estimate and disclose the expected degree of uncertainty, indicating areas and possible visual consequences of the uncertainties.  Use more than one appropriate presentation mode and means of access for the affected public.  Present important non-visual information at the same time as the visual presentation, using a neutral delivery.  Avoid the use, or the appearance of, ‘sales’ techniques or special effects.  Avoid seeking a particular response from the audience.  Provide information describing how the visualisation process was conducted and how key decisions were taken. (Sheppard, S.R.J., 2005).

Contrast Rating Stage The contrast rating, or impacts assessment phase, is undertaken after the inventory process has been completed and the proposed landscape modification is assessed from the Key Observation Point. The suitability of landscape modification is assessed by measuring the Degree of Contrast (DoC) of the proposed landscape modification to the existing contrast created by the existing landscape. This is done by evaluating the level of change to the existing landscape in terms of the line, colour, texture and form, in relation to the visual objectives defined for the area. The following criteria are utilised in defining the DoC: 

None

The element contrast is not visible or perceived.

Weak

The element contrast can be seen but does not attract attention.

Moderate

Strong

The element contrast begins to attract attention and begins to dominate the characteristic landscape. The element contrast demands attention, will not be overlooked, and is dominant in the landscape.

As an example, in a Class I area, the visual objective is to preserve the existing character of the landscape, and the resultant contrast to the existing landscape should not be notable to the casual observer and cannot attract attention. In a Class IV area example, the objective is to provide for management activities which require major modifications of the existing character of the landscape. Based on whether the VRM objectives are met, mitigations, if required, are defined to avoid, reduce or mitigate the proposed landscape modifications so that the visual impact does not detract from the surrounding landscape sense of place.

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VRM Terminology The following terms were used in the Contrast Rating Tables to help define Form, Line, Colour, and Texture. The definitions were a combination of Microsoft Word Dictionary and simple description Table 5: VRM Terminology Table FORM Simple Weak Strong Dominant Flat Rolling Undulating Complex Plateau Ridge Valley Plain Steep Shallow Organic Structured

LINE Horizontal Vertical Geometric Angular Acute Parallel Curved Wavy Strong Weak Crisp Feathered Indistinct Clean Prominent Solid

COLOUR

TEXTURE Smooth Rough Fine Coarse Patchy Even Uneven Complex Simple Stark Clustered Diffuse Dense Scattered Sporadic Consistent

Dark Light Mottled

Simple

Basic, composed of few elements

Organic

Complex

Structure

Weak

Complicated; made up of many interrelated parts Lacking strength of character

Strong

Bold, definite, having prominence

Horizontal

Dominant

Vertical

Perpendicular to the horizon; upright

Geometric

Consisting of straight lines and simple shapes Sharply defined; used to describe an object identified by angles Less than 90째; used to describe a sharp angle Relating to or being lines, planes, or curved surfaces that are always the same distance apart and therefore never meet Rounded or bending in shape

Broken

Controlling, influencing the surrounding environment Level and horizontal without any slope; even and smooth without any bumps or hollows Progressive and consistent in form, usually rounded Moving sinuously like waves; wavy in appearance Uniformly elevated flat to gently undulating land bounded on one or more sides by steep slopes A narrow landform typical of a highpoint or apex; a long narrow hilltop or range of hills A flat expanse of land; fairly flat dry land, usually with few trees Sloping sharply often to the extent of being almost vertical Noticeable; distinguished, eminent, or wellknown Unadulterated or unmixed; made of the same material throughout; uninterrupted Lacking continuity; having an uneven surface

Smooth

Consistent in line and form; even textured

Stark

Rough Fine Coarse

Bumpy; knobbly; or uneven, coarse in texture Intricate and refined in nature Harsh or rough to the touch; lacking detail

Clustered Diffuse Diffuse

Flat Rolling Undulating Plateau

Ridge Plain Steep Prominent Solid

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Regular

Angular Acute Parallel

Curved

Derived from nature; occurring or developing gradually and naturally Organised; planned and controlled; with definite shape, form, or pattern Repeatedly occurring in an ordered fashion Parallel to the horizon

Indistinct

Layered; consisting of many fine parallel strands Vague; lacking clarity or form

Patchy

Irregular and inconsistent;

Even

Consistent and equal; lacking slope, roughness, and irregularity Inconsistent and unequal in measurement irregular Bare and plain; lacking ornament or relieving features Densely grouped Spread through; scattered over an area To make something less bright or intense

Feathered

Uneven

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Draft via 17 april 2014