Chin family to discuss future of Sammy's

Dunedin's Chin family will today meet to decide what to do about their nightclub being ordered closed on Friday by the Dunedin City Council after being designated a fire risk.

Sammy's nightclub was started more than 30 years ago by Sam Chin and his late father Eddie.

Mr Chin told the Otago Daily Times last night he was shocked by the apparent lack of notice from the New Zealand Fire Service.

"They should have said something before they closed it. All those people lost all that money."

Mr Chin acknowledged council staff had tried, unsuccessfully, to find ways for the planned "Cave Rave" on Friday night to go ahead.

Mr Chin told the ODT previously there was a chance the building would be demolished.

Meanwhile, supporters of Sammy's have turned to the internet to vent their frustration.

News of the closure was being discussed on the Sammy's facebook page by Friday afternoon, within hours of the council issuing its "notice to fix", which immediately closed the venue indefinitely.

Sammy's staff posted a status update for their more than 4400 online followers on Friday night, announcing the closure and saying: "GUTTED. GUTTED. GUTTED. The Sammy's Crew are ... gutted this evening".

Fans of the venue weighed in with more than 100 messages of support, many expressing disbelief and anger at the closure and the loss of the the city's increasingly popular live music venue.

Some called for the community to rally around and fundraise to pay for upgrading the building.

Lisa Jones, one of the founders of New Zealand music website, called the venue's loss "a huge blow for NZ music".

Joanna Cramond said it was "time to get a support crew together" to campaign for the venue and volunteer labour to bring it up to code compliance.

Fiona Clements agreed, saying: "There's enough [people] in this town that don't want to see Sammy's disappear. Surely this can be done and fixed with a little help from our friends."

Others wanted to express their "disgust" at the closure, but Ian Henderson replied: "Disgust won't reopen Sammy's. Addressing the issues that led to the closure will."

The Fire Service inspection on Friday found inadequate emergency lighting, fire detection and warning systems, and blocked emergency exits, prompting Dunedin Deputy Chief Fire Officer Trevor Tilyard to label it the most dangerous venue of its kind in the city.


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