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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Home overtaken by mushrooms

Home overtaken by mushrooms

Last updated 05:00 23/04/2011
Hundreds of mushrooms are growing through the silt-soaked carpet of an abandoned Christchurch home while its frustrated owners wait for answers.

Emma and Chris Musson were forced to leave their Burwood home after it suffered serious damage and flooding in the September earthquake.

It has sat in Goodman St for the past seven months, rotting in liquefaction and sewage, while the couple wait for officials to decide its fate.

Chris Musson said it was "crazy" to see his street looking like a "ghost town" and his home overtaken by fungi.

"It is just unreal. No-one lives here now. The whole area is pretty much evacuated, and there's a small tree growing through my rug," he said.

Orange mushrooms and weeds are growing through the carpet, and mould has spread over the walls.

An Earthquake Commission (EQC) official told the Mussons the "whole house is a writeoff" last year, but they are still waiting to hear whether the land is safe enough to rebuild on.

The couple received a $112,750 EQC payout last month but are still waiting on their insurer's engineering report.
Emma Musson said waiting for answers was frustrating. "People can't take a year out of their life to just sit and wait," she said.

An EQC spokesman said there had been almost 300,000 claims from homeowners since September.

"We understand people's frustrations and that their lives have been put on hold, but we are working as hard as we can," he said.

The Mussons are expecting their first child in October and had just finished renovating their Burwood home in the weeks before the quake.

They said the silt mounds in the backyard were once pristine lawns.

"It's tough when you see it now," Chris Musson said.

"We had plans for the next five years."

After September, the couple shifted to a rental property in New Brighton that was destroyed in the February quake, forcing them to move again.

The EQC is only one agency in the land-remediation decision-making progress, and the Government hopes to give homeowners timelines for land issues next month.

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