Jozi Trails, a not for profit company that will manage the development and maintenance of recreational trails along the Braamfontein Spruit, was launched on Wednesday evening at the Delta Environmental Centre at Delta Park in Johannesburg. The pilot project will cover Delta Park, Emmarentia and all the trails connecting them. In time it will expand to cover some 37 kilometers from Albert’s Farm to the NI in Fourways.

Speaking at the launch function, project head Albert van Urk laid out the plans for Jozi Trails. These include trail maintenance to prevent environmental degradation, improved security along the spruit, the installation of signage, fundraising and sponsorship. “What we do will be properly designed and well maintained,” said Van Urk, “and it must be able to accommodate multiple user groups. We want to create a resource for the people of Johannesburg that will change the way people view the city.”

Security company 24/7 Security Services Managing Director David de Lima announced that his company has sponsored four public safety ambassadors to patrol the Jozi Trails pilot area on bicycles from 6am to 6pm on weekends. They will also be able to call for assistance in case of an incident or activate Netcare 911 for medical emergencies.

Over the years, a number of walking and cycling trails have developed organically along the Braamfontein Spruit as the city densified, creating an increased demand for better outdoor recreational facilities. Environmentally sensitive areas will be carefully managed by Jozi Trails, according to Geoff Lockwood of the Delta Environmental Centre. “Our challenge is to accommodate all users while enhancing biodiversity,” Lockwood said. Louise Gordon, the head of Business Development and Stakeholder Management for Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo said that the City of Johannesburg supports initiatives like Jozi Trails that develop and improve public parks and spaces for all users. Ward Councillor Tim Truluck said that Jozi Trails is a well-run project that is will serve as a model to other communities across the City and further afield.

Already many years in the making, Jozi Trails is working closely with Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo, and is in the process of applying for the required environmental and water use licences in terms of the National Environmental Management Act which will then allow Jozi Trails to design and build better, environmentally sensitive trails for enjoyment by the people of Johannesburg.