Cramped living over for quake-hit couple

SAM SACHDEVA
Last updated 05:00 04/09/2012
y Doyle at his new house that replaces the historic villa destroyed in the September 4, 2010, earthquake.
DAVID HALLETT/Fairfax NZ

MOVING ON: Gary Doyle at his new house that replaces the historic villa destroyed in the September 4, 2010, earthquake.

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After nearly two years living in a converted dog-grooming shed, Gary and Elizabeth Doyle finally have room to spread out.

The Weedons couple moved into their new house just over a week ago. Their historic villa was badly damaged in the September 4, 2010, earthquake.

Gary Doyle said the couple's old home, parts of which were built in 1885, was "munted" by the quake.

"We had three chimneys and five fireplaces, so those were all munted, and the floor was a bit of a roller coaster in places," he said.

They were forced to convert their shed, previously used as a dog-grooming salon, into a sleepout, and lived there from October 2010 until last month.

Doyle said the couple had to buy a caravan to store their clothes and other belongings because of the lack of space in the sleepout.

"We went from a 240-square-metre house to the 28sqm of the sleepout," he said.

"In our new house, I would say our current bedroom is about the size of everything we had over there."

Delays in the rebuilding process had frustrated the couple.

"You get to the point where you think you're all done and then they come up with another reason to stall it," Doyle said.

He said the experience had been a strain, but the couple were aware that residents in Christchurch's eastern suburbs were in worse situations.

"It was pretty stressful, but not as stressful as what those poor buggers have got on the other side of town."

Doyle said the second anniversary of the September quake was a chance for Christchurch residents to focus on the future, rather than dwelling on the past.

"We have to look at a whole new type of Christchurch," he said.

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