A referendum about several issues was conducted in Klosterneuburg, Austria, in December 2013. One of the asked questions was about a golf course which was planned to be build on an area which is mostly agricultural land in the hilly region of that town. A referendum is a non binding opinion poll, however, the mayor of Klosterneuburg accepted the results as binding.
The referendum was conducted on December 1st, 2013, 26.217 people were eligible to vote of which 10.434 citizens gave their vote, thus the voter turnout was 39,8 % (Iburg.at, Meinbezierk.at). Two questionnaires were given, one of the local government (Gemeinderate) and another one from a citizen’s group; both asked questions about the golf court (see charts).
The results regarding the golf course clearly show that citizens of Klosterneuburg were against the construction of the golf course. Prior to the referendum the project was hotly debated and groups promoting and opposing the project evolved. One of the most influential opposing groups was ‘Nein-zum-Golfplatz‘, that put much effort into informing citizens about the municipality’s plans.
In the forefront of the referendum a strategical environmental audit (“Strategische Umweltprüfung” (SUP)) was conducted, which approved the golf course project.
The referendum and the SUP are tools promoting the decision making processes. Through this example it becomes obvious that the decision depends on the decision support tool chosen. The diverging results of the two tools were my motivation asking myself in 2013 what a result a Contingent Valuation (CV) would have had and how this would have influenced the decision. I would have loved to do a research project already in 2013, but since I was writing my master thesis I had no time to do so. Now I am conducting the CV in oder to satisfy my scientific curiosity. A CV is based on a survey; in this case all citizens of Klosterneuburg that were eligible to vote on the December 1st, 2013 are invited to participate (link to the referendum only in german).
On the german page of this research project results will be made available as to give feedback to the citizens.