Local residents deserve details about future of Sun Life parking lot

Ten houses that separate the Mount Hope area of my ward from a surface parking lot will be flattened in the next three weeks.

That unfortunate fact was confirmed this weekend by Sun Life — owner of the huge lot — in a business story buried deep inside the D-section of The Record. The company, which already has necessary permits to demolish without going to council, told The Record it is working with Kitchener planners but declined to give any information about future development on the site.

Sun Life, a company that employs 3,500 people in Kitchener-Waterloo, also announced it will sell and lease back its historic headquarters and surrounding properties near the Park-Union boundary of Kitchener and Waterloo where the parking lot serves as a gateway to both cities.

The company proposes to lease back the properties alongside the future LRT route for at least 20 years and says there will be no change for the 2,600 employees currently working at Park and Union. Sun Life is also talking with Waterloo officials to develop a plan to build an enclosed emergency hydro generator near Park and John Streets.

The demolished houses will make way for more parking and a landscaped area to partly screen the lot from nearby homes across Park Street. Screening will include small trees that will not reach full height for an estimated eight years.

Too bad Sun Life, a quality corporate citizen, couldn’t share with Kitchener-Waterloo residents information about potential development plans scheduled for an extremely valuable site that currently acts as a very unimpressive entrance and exit for both cities.

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