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Changes come to Isla Vista following latest fatal cliff fall

Changes come to Isla Vista following latest fatal cliff fall
flower in the fence
Tracy Lehr / KEYT
Walter Capps Park sign
Tracy Lehr / KEYT
Portable toilet added at park where student fell to his death

ISLA VISTA, Calif.-People visiting the cliffs where Benjamin Scott Schurmer fell to his death on Saturday night Sept. 2, are likely to notices changes.

Laura Capps said a portable restroom had just been placed in Walter Capps Park, the park named after her late father, who was a beloved UCSB professor and United States Congressman.

Capps attended an Isla Vista Community Services District meeting on Tuesday night to talk about prevention measures.

IVCSD Director Spencer Brandt said it appears the 19 year old Santa Barbara City College student and the alumni Chasen Alibrando, 25, were both relieving themselves when they fell.

"So we really hope that bringing temporary portable restrooms will be a first step to try to increase the accessibility of these restrooms," said Brandt.

Students had left a warning sign about urinating along the cliff's edge after the latest fall where the a portion of the fence was dangling off the eroded cliff.

The board in the unincorporated town of Isla Vista approved $15,000 in funding for portable public restrooms.

Crews spent the day repairing and replacing portions of the fence where the latest fatal fall occurred.

Capps said this is just the beginning.

"So we are looking at every aspect of this that we can improve I mean fence heights, shrubbery lighting all of the things," said Capps," I just feel so compelled to protect our children and our young people who live here and these accident should be prevented."

Capps told the board she would go to county leaders and look into all of the above plus balcony limits.

Ela Schulz is another IVCSD director who also happens to be a UCSB student.

She said the goal is to do everything they can to prevent another death or injury.

"We hope this will be the last in a long line of truly unspeakable tragedies,"said Shulz, "I believe everyone has to be involved, there are a lot moving pieces and it is incredibly important that this is addressed promptly and efficiently."

IVCSD General manager Jonathan Abboud who is also the President of the Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees is keeping track of the deaths.

Schurmer who graduated from Nordoff High School in Ojai two years ago was an athlete and an actor who had recently been cast in Emma, based on a Jane Austin novel, at SBCC.

The SBCC student was 13th person to die in a cliff fall since 1994.

They not all men. Two women fell to their deaths, including Giselle Ayala, 18, who had been visiting from Cal Poly over Spring Break a decade ago when she fell.

The falls have happened along different stretches of Del Playa Drive where the cliffs are eroding.

City College classes started last month so student living or visiting Isla Vista are more likely to be aware of Schurmer's fall.

The same can't be said for the incoming UCSB students who are told about cliff dangers during orientation.

Some students who knew about the tragedy left flowers and candles along the cliff's edge last week.

Other people left empty bottles of whiskey and wine, bringing to mind another issue that puts people at risk.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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