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Calls for change after West Vancouver man drowns trying to save dog from creek

Two days after the bodies of a West Vancouver man and a yellow Labrador were pulled from Cypress creek, the city’s mayor is remembering the drowning victim as an extraordinary person.

Keen Lau and his wife Lisa were walking their neighbour’s dog Loki along the banks of Cypress Creek on Friday evening when the Labrador was caught up in the fast-moving current.

“He jumped in to save the dog, then he yelled for Lisa to call 911. But it was too late,” said mayor Mark Sager. Lau and Loki’s bodies were found downstream the following morning.

“Just devastated. Gutted,” said Sager, who got to know Lau when the 45-year-old ran for city council last year.

“We became friends. We have the same passions, we love to ski and cycle and be outdoors,” said Sager. “He had a really intense love of our community, he felt very blessed to be living in West Vancouver and he was just a genuinely kind person that wanted to make a difference.”

Lau’s perspective on life was shaped by a near-fatal road cycling accident near Horseshoe Bay 11 years ago.

“This guy was a real fighter and he recovered fully and got back, then he inspired others, other people who had very life-altering situations,” said Sager. “I mean, Keen was an extraordinary human being,” he said. “Left us way too early, in such tragic circumstances.”

Skye Barbic, who lives near Cypress Creek Park, didn’t know Lau, but could immediately relate to the tragedy. Her own dog drowned after being swept away in the same waters two years ago.

“Extreme sadness for the family and a lot of pain,” said Barbic, who is pushing for changes to the area to prevent more deaths.

First and foremost, she wants dogs to be required to be on leash near the creek.

“Number two — that fencing is just not adequate enough. Not just for dogs, but young children that are in the water all the time. And number three, we need some clear signage like Lynn Canyon has that clearly says people have died here, it is really dangerous,” said Barbic, who added the changes need to be made right now.

“This is not something that needs to go to committee, it has to happen this week. We need to make this area safe,” she said.

Mayor Sager said he hasn’t stopped thinking about what could be done to prevent further tragedies around Cypress creek.

“I had dreams about it last night, thinking what if there was a safety rope. I have no idea, somebody with far more experience in these things than I would know. If there is anything that can be done, I want to do it” Sager said.

He’s also thinking about Lau’s wife Lisa, who is a local school trustee. “She’s just lovely and my heart just goes out to her. They were looking forward to starting a family together. My heart just sinks for her and for Keen’s mother and brother,” he said.

“It’s just unthinkable, unthinkable pain,” Sager added. “It’s a huge loss.” Top Stories

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