Sammy's given temporary licence

Less than two months after being ordered to close because of fire safety fears, Dunedin nightspot Sammy's is back to full capacity after receiving temporary approval for crowds of more than 700 people.

The venue was issued with a temporary "certificate for public use" by the Dunedin City Council at 4pm on Friday, just hours before New Zealand band the Phoenix Foundation was due to perform that evening.

Council chief building control officer Neil McLeod said yesterday the certificate was granted after council staff inspected the venue's new fully automatic heat and smoke detection system and confirmed it was up to standard.

A few minor finishing touches were still required, meaning council staff issued the temporary certificate rather than a code compliance certificate, he said.

The interim measure allowed the venue to operate with crowds of more than 700 people, he said.

The venue was ordered to close on March 19 after fire safety fears were raised, but was permitted to reopen on April 9 - with its capacity restricted to 250 people - after initial improvements were made to lighting, fire exits cleared and staff given additional training.

The building is owned by Sam Chin and the venue managed by Sam Carroll, who also runs the Big Ups inflatable games business from the building.

Mr McLeod said temporary certificates could be used for about a month, but it was expected the venue would be signed off as compliant once the new system's finishing touches were completed and inspected in the coming days.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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