Felicity Ratcliffe Associate Director
Felicity is an Associate Director and has extensive experience in the landscape architecture profession in both the private and public sectors.
Yass Valley City Council engaged GroupGSA Landscape Architects to re-imagine the existing play and recreational spaces for the Riverbank Park located along the banks of the Yass River. Funded through a generous $2million grant from the NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program. The primary objective behind the design was to deliver an upgrade to the existing park and breathe new life into it, creating a vibrant, activated space for the whole community to enjoy. Our role involved the design and documentation of a destination play space and complementary park facilities.
Aligning with the Council’s aspirations, our design featured contemporary play opportunities that respected and maximized the site’s natural features. Its prime riverside location allowed us to deliver high levels of adventure play value in an organic setting.
The design caters to a diverse range of age groups, with the play area seamlessly transitioning from offerings for infants to engaging activities for teenagers. Swing sets, slides, sensory play zones, a unique “hamster” wheel, a thrilling flying fox, and relaxing hammocks create a dynamic environment, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility throughout the park.
Four main components drove our selection of play features: thrill, motor skills, sensory and imaginative. Play features that promote balance and agility such as the net tube and sky rope tunnel cater towards older users while features like sensory play zones that like a bubble window to encourage visual interaction and sound distortion tailored towards younger users.
The Yass River is an important landmark for Yass Valley and its community. This factor heavily influenced our approach to designing a space that complements the river, fostering seamless integration between the park and the waterway. The inclusion of a climbing tower provides users with the opportunity to enjoy panoramic views of the Yass River, allowing for not only a scenic experience but also an engaging platform for play challenges.
The play facilities are complemented by essential amenities, including picnic shelters and BBQ areas, encouraging community gatherings and social interactions. The incorporation of fitness elements adds an active dimension to the space, making it a vibrant, activated space that encourages community cohesion/ for the enjoyment of the whole community.
“I’m most looking forward to seeing the Yass Valley Kids enjoy those elements of the playground that will encourage them to make friends and at the same time, build their teamwork abilities such as getting the hamster wheel to run as fast as possible”, said Deputy Mayor Jasmin Jones.
“It’s so important that we have great open spaces for the community here in the Yass Valley, and for all our regional communities there’s got to be investments in places for our kids to really enjoy the outdoors, to get out into nature, and to enjoy play like I know this park will provide”, said Minister for Agriculture and for Regional New South Wales Tara Moriarty.