In November 2018, not long after the first shovel broke ground, Jozi Trails celebrated the completion of the new Delta Park trails in as part of their plan to uplift the trail network along the Braamfontein Spruit.

Operating in partnership with Hollard & Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo (JCPZ), Jozi Trails is a not-for- profit company whose sole aim is to uplift the trail network along Johannesburg’s beautiful ‘green lung’ – the Braamfontein Spruit.  Established by a group of passionate Joburgers who love the Spruit and surrounding parklands, the organisation plans to give everyone who uses Johannesburg’s parks a better experience by creating a sustainable trail system that can be used for a range of recreational purposes.

”As a proud resident, Hollard is thrilled to be able to contribute to Jozi’s ‘world-class city’ aspiration.  Most, if not all, world-class cities around the globe have a properly maintained green lung that serves as a gathering place open to all citizens, a centre for various forms of recreation, and a source of great pride for residents. We think the Braamfontein Spruit can become Jozi’s very own Central Park.” says Warwick Bloom, head of group communications for Hollard.

Delta Park is one of the larger parks on the Braamfontein Spruit and lies between Blairgowrie and Victory Park.  The Pilot Phase of the Jozi Trails project entails a concentrated effort focused largely in and around this area. According to Jozi Trails Project Head Albert Van Urk, Delta Park was chosen as the pilot site on the assumption that, as one of the biggest and busiest public open spaces in Johannesburg, the area would provide a good overview of the challenges likely to be encountered later on in the project.

“The lessons we are learning in Delta Park are preparing us well for the challenges that we will face to complete our vision of a trail system that connects Soweto, Midrand and the Cradle of Humankind” continues Van Urk.

Due to the massive increase in user numbers over the past number of years and facing a serious backlog of maintenance work, Delta Park area was in need of some serious TLC. The trails had issues with erosion and the poor drainage made certain areas unusable after rainfall. The lack of designated trails meant that dog walkers, runners & hikers had to share the trail with cyclists who often travel at high speeds. Conflict between different users groups became a fairly regular occurrence and a there were a number of incidents where people and animals were injured.

Once on the ground, the Jozi Trails crew took Delta Park head on. There was no section too eroded, no trail too far gone for the team. Most of the work done centred around repairing the erosion and sorting out the drainage issues that plagued the Delta park trails. Four new trail sections were added to ensure that slower moving traffic does not share the same trail as high-speed cyclists. All in all, over 700 cubic metres of soil and 30 000 litres of water was utilised during this massive restoration project. Much-needed signage was also added to ensure that users know who belongs on which trail.

Security across the Braamfontein Spruit is also a core focus, with four security guards sponsored by Trek & 24/7 Security, affectionately called the JT Bobbies, patrolling the whole Pilot Phase area (from Conrad Drive to Emmarentia, including Delta Park) from 6am to 6pm on weekends.

Shirley Tebbutt from the Delta Park user group comments, “Jozi trails have been making an incredible difference already, especially with the new track down the tree line next to Bantam Road. The cyclists are loving the challenge of the trail and that works out fantastically for the walkers and runners.”

Even after reclaiming Delta Park from the depths, the Jozi Trails team won’t be resting on their shovels too long. After all, passion is energy. And they are passionate about our parks. So, while many are only just stretching for that first ever morning run in the newly revamped Delta Park, the next phase is already well into its stride. Work in other areas has already started, starting with Albert Farms so keep an eye out for the latest developments.

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