This pilot project, which Hollard has invested an initial amount of R1.5m towards, is intended to establish the viability of public/private partnerships along the Spruit, also emphasising ongoing maintenance and improved safety measures.
This will improve the overall experience for pedestrians, trail riders and runners alike, creating a sustainable trail system that can be used for a range of recreational purposes.
"The parks and trails that surround the beautiful Braamfontein Spruit attract thousands of people each week, who come to enjoy a scenic bike ride, take their dogs for a walk, or simply take in a breath of fresh air on a brisk walk. However, sections along the Spruit have needed some serious TLC," says Albert van Urk, Director & Chief Spruit Junkie at Jozi Trails.
"We’re eager to participate in the reinvigoration and beautification of these spaces, so that the parks and trails along the Spruit flourish as beautiful, safe and well-maintained spots for all," says Heidi Brauer, Chief Marketing Officer at Hollard. "Research shows that spending even 20 minutes in nature improves people’s vitality and by increasing the quality of the Spruit experience, we hope to encourage more Joburgers to make use of that fact. In that way, together with Jozi Parks, we really can enable better futures for these users."
Hollard and Jozi Trails launched the pilot project by upgrading the first 11kms of trails along the Spruit. The first of a three-phase project plan focusing on improvements to the Delta Park section of the Spruit is already underway, with large parts of the Delta Park trails already completed.
Some of the challenges that still need to be addressed include land erosion, inadequate drainage, unclear routing on trails, criminal activity, and even conflicts between the groups of people who frequent the park.
"We chose Delta Park as the pilot site for the project because of its location, popularity and the fact that it is one of biggest and busiest open public spaces in Johannesburg," says Louise Gordon, EM: Business Development and Stakeholder Management at Johannesburg City Parks.
"We knew that focusing our efforts on this specific park, to begin with, would give us a good introduction to the types of challenges we would be facing going forward."