“Took the plunge and never looked back”
NewQuay resident Sam Marasco is about to chalk up five years of Docklands living, and he said that the move had been a positive one.
Back in 2016, Sam and his wife Rosanna were living in Melbourne’s northern suburbs and things were pointing towards a move.
Upkeep on the family home had become laborious, travel time had become “horrendous” and their children were living in Docklands and North Melbourne, too.
“We always thought ‘what would it be like living in the city? We wouldn’t mind doing that’,” Sam told Docklands News.
“So, it became a ‘will we/won’t we’ thing and we eventually took the plunge. And in all honesty, we’ve never looked back.”
In particular, he is drawn to a waterfront “backyard”, accessible trams, the nearby Library at the Dock, shopping without a car, and the general ease of a newfound way of life.
“A lot of people thought we were absolutely crazy. But life is made of challenges, and doing something different if you can. We always thought it would be nice to live somewhere you don’t have to drive everywhere, and wanted to downsize; we had just two of us living in it and the upkeep was just incredible. But now I’m looking out of my window and see a palm tree and know I don’t have to lift a finger to pick up the leaves! It’s great.”
His main gripe is the cost of parking when having family around.
“One major problem for us is about visitors – there’s just not enough parking. There is parking, but with exorbitant fees. We like to get our uncles, aunties and cousins out to visit occasionally but no one is wanting to come out here and pay $30 to $40 to park. We don’t get many visitors anymore because no one wants to pay that much for parking.”
Sam is the father of the Docklands Sports Club’s founding president Carina Parisella (also a nearby Docklands resident) and can be seen on most weekends helping out at Ron Barassi Snr Park near the Bolte Bridge.
The club, which started in 2019, has quickly grown its membership base since formation.
Despite a 2020 heavily impacted by COVID-19, it kicked back into gear and re-started junior soccer and cricket programs from late last year.
“Obviously when you first start off a club you’re desperate for people to help because it’s quite involved when you think about it. So I’ve been involved since day one,” he said.
That involvement includes setting up the ground on a Sunday morning, stepping in as assistant coach when required, helping in the canteen, working the club’s new coffee machine, and when the kids go home, packing it all up.
Sam said the club was an important step in establishing community ties in the local area.
“I think it’s very important. I know when I was a kid I’d be out on the street playing football or cricket but I never had that privilege of going to a local sports club to do it. The park is fantastic and the facilities are great, I think it’s a great way to get kids involved. But also, for the parents; you see them out there getting to know each other. Obviously when they first meet it’s a bit awkward, but once they start talking and coming every week, they start to form friendships and it’s really great for the community. I see it growing.”
Sam said COVID-19 had a visible impact on local shops, and asked other Docklanders to — where they could — buy local.
“There’s been a lot of shops, particularly at The District, that have closed up. We try our best to support our local shops here first, as best we can. But I think a lot more people need to get together and follow suit, because they really need some support.” •