Did Pismo Beach wait too long to close the slide?

June 28, 2023


After more than 30 people suffered spinal, tailbone and other injuries, the City of Pismo Beach permanently closed the Pier Plaza slide last week.

Built as part of an $8.8 million pier revitalization project, the city opened the large slide that glides through the plaza floor leading to the beach below on Sept. 4, 2020. The attraction was an instant hit with locals and tourists alike.

Shortly afterwards, on Sept. 12, the first person suffered a significant injury on the slide. Since then, 35 reported injuries have led to at least 30 lawsuits filed against the city.

On June 2022, CalCoastNews filed a public records request for all lawsuits filed over the past five years. City staff responded by saying they do not keep track of all lawsuits in one place. More than a year later, the city has failed to provide the records, though they continue to dribble out copies of lawsuit filings.

Multiple law firms have sued the city for negligence, dangerous conditions, and product liability related to the slide. The slide’s contractors, design firms and the City of Pismo Beach are named as defendants.

Even though the city which owns, maintains and manages the slide, was hit with approximately one lawsuit a month, the city kept the slide open.

Concerned with the plethora of lawsuits, in Oct. 2021, Vernon Edwards, the contractor who constructed the base area and installed the slide, sent the city a cease-and-desist demand. Based on the number of people injured and the mounting number of lawsuits, Edwards demanded the city immediately close the slide.

“The sheer volume of lawsuits and claims dictates that the city must immediately cease operation of the slide,” according to the cease-and-desist letter. “It is very sad that the city chooses to keep the slide open even though it has allegedly and apparently will continue to injure the city’s own residents.”

At that time, the city refused to close the slide and the injuries and lawsuits continued for over a year, according to a Nov. 14, 2022 lawsuit filed against the city by Edwards’ insurance carrier Travelers Property Causality Company of America.

Edwards installed the slide to the city’s specifications, according to the lawsuit. Based on the city’s involvement and failure to close the slide despite the injuries, the insurance company said they have no obligation to indemnify against damages.

In Dec. 2022, the city temporarily closed the slide after an atmospheric storm and tidal surge washed away sand at the base of the slide. On June 22, the city permanently closed the slide.

“For the past six months, the slides have been closed due to coastal tides that caused the sand to recede at the base of the slide,” the city said in a press release. “Additionally, pending litigation resulting from the repeated misuse of the slide left little choice but to permanently close this unique coastal amenity.”

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I don’t care if it’s a ‘slide at your own risk’ it was a stupid, stupid idea. I’m glad they shut it down.

Why with all of the personal injury sharks out there would anyone want to take personal responsibility upon themselves!?

We live in a bubble world I’m afraid to admit.

Almost all of the lawsuits were filed by the same law firm in Nipomo. Sure seems like a cash grab to me.

We had way more dangerous playground equipment at school and at most parks when I was a kid. Difference is then people still believed in personal responsibility. If you hurt yourself it was your own fault.

Nowadays when people act reckless or don’t supervise their kids properly it’s time to blame someone else and get paid. That’s very sad.

All the fun stuff for kids ends up getting taken away and kids have nothing to do except stay inside glued to their electronic devices. Not good for future generations.

Government in action or this case no action. Bye Bye to any extra money for necessary city items

I broke my tailbone on the Whale by the pier.

Ima gonna assume this is a joke,right?

Not a joke. The whale is dangerous. I slid down its back and my feet slipped out from under me when I got to the bottom. My tailbone still hurts, six months later!

Who designed the slide? Please tell us that CCN, for it may be very interesting. Cities typically hire a private firm to design this sort of stuff. So, who was it?

Google has your answer

Who ever proposed the slides needs to be fired.

Who ever came up with the idea if concrete slides needs to be fired.

Who ever allowed the landing zone of the slides subject to constantly changing beach conditions needs to be fired.

Who ever allowed the slides to remain open needs to be fired.

Who ever has denied CCN legal public records requests needs to be fired.

but as we all know too well when it comes to government jobs, failure at your job is not a fire-able offense, or is theft or incompetence.

Total disregard for public safety. Who is minding the store in Pismo Beach?

Seriously? It’s a freaking slide. You know what you are signing up for it you decide to go down it. You have far more risk of drowning.

Who could have predicted a cement slide would be a liability nightmare, y’know besides everyone?