New home from quake payout
Jo Mitchell left Timaru 13 years ago, and never expected to be back.
But losing two properties in Christchurch - in the same street - due to earthquakes changed all that.
Her rental property in the Burwood suburb was so badly damaged after the September 4, 2010 quake that the Earthquake Commission declared it a write-off.
"The liquefaction was awful. By the time it subsided, the tenants guessed that the property would've sunk at least a metre into the ground," she said.
Jo and her husband Craig's house, which was on the same street, was declared fine after the September 2010 quake, but eventually suffered serious damage in last year's February 22 quake.
The couple moved to Timaru in June last year.
"We're still paying insurance on our own home. Our old house has been ransacked more than once. It's just too sad visiting Christchurch," she said.
Jo managed to get an agreement for a full rebuild on the rental property after nearly 18 months' negotiation with their insurance company.
"There were times we wondered whether it was worth it. We could have easily walked away and just taken the Government payout: the property was red-zoned. But we kept on persevering," she said.
According to the requirements, the earthquake rebuild had to be of the same specifications of the original property, which was valued around $400,000.
The new house, on Mountainview Rd, is one of the first in Timaru to be built from earthquake-related payouts.
"The builders in charge of it have been great. They've worked to schedule all the way. Much of the stress stopped when the contracts were signed," she said.
"Stonewood initially told us the building would be complete in November, they now tell us it could be ready by the end of this month."
Their original plan was to rent the new property out, but after the stress associated with owning property, they are now thinking they will sell it.
Jo, a recruitment manager, initially was able to work from home in Timaru for her Christchurch-based employer, but has just started work with Personnel Placements in Timaru, while her husband was also able to find work locally.
"When I left Timaru in 1999, I never expected to be back. Or at least not like this," she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News