Irene Jones

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Irene Jones
Toronto City Councillor for (Ward 6) Etobicoke-Lakeshore
In office
December 1, 2000 – November 30, 2003
Preceded by Riding established
Succeeded by Mark Grimes
Toronto City Councillor for (Ward 2) - Lakeshore Queensway
In office
January 1, 1998 – November 30, 2000
Preceded by Riding established
Succeeded by Riding abolished
Etobicoke City Councillor for Ward 1
In office
December 1, 1988 – December 31, 1997
Preceded by Helen Wursta
Succeeded by Riding abolished
Personal details
Residence Mimico[1]
Occupation NGO Executive director

Irene Jones is a former municipal councillor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A member of the social democratic New Democratic Party, she served on the Etobicoke and Toronto councils from 1988 until 2003, when she stood down to seek election to the provincial legislature.


Jones was the director of Storefront Humber during the 1980s, providing home support services to elderly residents of Etobicoke and Mississauga.[2] Jones, a Mimico resident,[1] also served as chair of Home Share Etobicoke, was a member of the Toronto District Health Council, and helped establish the New Toronto Nursery School.[3]

Etobicoke councillor[edit]

Jones first campaigned for the Etobicoke council in 1985. The election night returns showed her losing to her conservative rival, Helen Wursta, by only ten votes. Her requests for a recount were turned down by the city, and a judge ruled in January 1986 that too much time had passed for a court-ordered scrutiny of the votes (although the judge also ruled that the council was certainly aware of ballot irregularities when it turned down Jones's request).[4] In the aftermath of these events, Bob Mitchell of the Toronto Star wrote that the real result of the election would never be known for certain.[5]

She sought election to the Etobicoke council again in 1988, arguing that the city should purchase waterfront properties for recreational use rather than sell them to developers.[6] She was listed as forty-one years old during the campaign.[7] This time, Jones defeated Wursta by an almost two-to-one margin.

Jones was frequently critical of development projects approved by the Etobicoke council. She voted against a high-rise condominium project at Kingsway-on-the-Park, arguing that it set a "dangerous precedent" for the city.[8] She also argued that the redevelopment of the Lakeshore Blvd. area was proceeding at too quick a pace.[9] Jones was especially critical of the council's approach to development issues, saying "While we do planning studies, we frequently don't do financial impact studies. We have to look at the ability of the average taxpayer in Etobicoke (to pay for) the urban responsibility of servicing all the residential redevelopment."[10]

She was also involved in securing a compromise for Etobicoke's motel strip area, promoting affordable housing for the region.[11] In October 1990, Jones endorsed a report from former Mayor of Toronto David Crombie which asserted that the Etobicoke council was placing the interests of developers ahead of the public.[12]

Jones was re-elected without difficulty in 1991, and continued to oppose many of the city's development plans. In 1993, she criticized the prospect of selling land around the old Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital to private developers.[13] She was re-elected again in 1994. She chaired the city's Board of Health after the election, and supported plans to designate Etobicoke as smoke-free.[14] She supported the Courtyards development project in Long Branch, arguing that the planning and development committee "for the first time" took community concerns into account.[15]

Toronto councillor[edit]

The city of Etobicoke was amalgamated into the city of Toronto in 1997. Jones was elected to the new Toronto City Council, winning one of two seats in the Lakeshore-Queensway ward. She sought an appointment as Etobicoke community council chair after the election, but lost to Elizabeth Brown.[16] When committee positions were determined, she was appointed to the Toronto Board of Health and the Urban Environment and Development Committee.[17] Jones quickly emerged as an opponent of Mel Lastman's style of government, arguing that the city's first budget had been created in secret.[18]

She supported the city's plans for redeveloping the motel strip area of Etobicoke in 1998, saying that environmental concerns had been taken into account and that property unit prices had been scaled back to reasonable levels.[19] During the same year, Jones supported calls for increased government funding to combat domestic violence.[20] In 1999, she called for Toronto to be made smoke-free by 2001.[21]

On December 14, 1999, Jones was appointed as a member of Toronto's newly created Food and Hunger Action Committee.[22] She sought a position on the Toronto Police Services Board in 2000, but was passed over in favour of Gordon Chong.[23] Late in 2000, Jones opposed a plan (which was ultimately rejected) to ship Toronto's garbage to the Adams Mine in Kirkland Lake.[24]

Toronto's ward system was restructured prior to the 2000 municipal election. Jones was re-elected without difficulty in the new sixth ward, covering the southern part of Etobicoke—Lakeshore. She was appointed to chair the West Community Council after the election.[25] In late 2001, she spoke out against the city's practice of contracting out services to private firms.[26]

In February 2002, Jones was appointed as the new City of Toronto Water Advocate in a joint program with the federal government.[27] She later criticized a municipal plan (later abandoned) to create an arm's-length board of private citizens to oversee Toronto's water system, arguing that this was simply a means of evading responsibility for necessary rate increases.[28] In October 2002, she announced that she was seeking public input on future cleanup efforts for Toronto's waterfront.[29] Jones also expressed concern, late in the year, that the proposed arm's-length board would be the first step toward contracting out water services to private developers.[30]

Jones was one of the first Toronto city councillors to endorse David Miller's successful bid for mayor of the city, joining him at his campaign launch in January 2003.[31] Jones herself did not seek re-election municipally, choosing instead to campaign for the provincial New Democratic Party in Etobicoke—Lakeshore for the 2003 provincial election. She finished third in this contest, against Liberal candidate Laurel Broten.

After politics[edit]

Jones worked in the volunteer sector after the election, and served on a committee organized by the Toronto Region Conservation Authority.[32] In 2004, she joined the lobbying firm Urban Intelligence as a senior consultant.[33] In August 2006, she was listed as co-chair of the Etobicoke-Mimico Watersheds Coalition, fighting for creek preservation and reclamation.[34]


  1. ^ a b Lorinc, John (November 2000). "X marks the spot". Toronto Life. p. 77. 
  2. ^ Paul Watson, "Senior in own home thanks to agency", Toronto Star, 8 October 1986, A7; Bob Mitchell, "Caring for aged program to be held at Queensway", Toronto Star, 20 October 1987, W3.
  3. ^ Leslie Ferenc, "If elected, he'll cost $33,481", Toronto Star, 20 September 1988, W5.
  4. ^ Sean Fine, "Recount request too late, judge rules", Globe and Mail, 25 January 1986, A21.
  5. ^ Bob Mitchell, "We'll never know who really won at Etobicoke polls", Toronto Star, 4 February 1986, W4.
  6. ^ Bruce Campion-Smith, "Is there a problem? Waterfront park has neighbors at odds", Toronto Star, 20 September 1988, W3.
  7. ^ "The candidates", Toronto Star, 10 November 1988, A15.
  8. ^ Licia Corbella, "Etobicoke residents upset over new highrise plan", Toronto Star, 4 July 1989, W10.
  9. ^ Susan Pigg, "Lakeshore site tests Ontario pledge on housing", Toronto Star, 22 January 1990, A17.
  10. ^ Kim Honey, "Redevelopment projects anger Etobicoke groups", Globe and Mail, 21 May 1990, A8.
  11. ^ Sally Ritchie, "Province adds another chapter to motel strip saga", Toronto Star, 27 June 1991, W2; "Etobicoke races: re-elect Sinclair", Toronto Star, 4 November 1991, A14.
  12. ^ Caroline Byrne, "Etobicoke planners answer Crombie report", Toronto Star, 1 October 1990, A16.
  13. ^ Craig McInnes, "Residents fight proposal for old hospital", Globe and Mail, 28 December 1993, A10.
  14. ^ Dale Anne Freed, "Etobicoke to become smoke-free by 2000", Toronto Star, 26 November 1996, A6.
  15. ^ Anne Marie Males, "Perfect partners", Toronto Star, 31 May 1997, J1.
  16. ^ "Meet the chairs of new community councils", Toronto Star, 7 January 1988, B4.
  17. ^ "Who does what", Toronto Star, 12 January 1988, B4.
  18. ^ John Spears, "Council faces up to paying the bills", Toronto Star, 8 March 1998, A6.
  19. ^ Sara Jean Green, "Motel strip transformed as city reclaims beach area", Globe and Mail, 15 June 1988, A9.
  20. ^ Kim Covert, "Women's groups want action on abuse", Globe and Mail, 18 July 1998, A11.
  21. ^ Louise Elliott, "Smoke-free city sought for 2001", Globe and Mail, 30 June 1999, A8.
  22. ^ "City of Toronto Food and Hunger Action Committee launches fact-finding mission" [media advisory], 7 February 2000, 17:26 report.
  23. ^ Bruce DeMara, "Chong recommended for police board", Toronto Star, 18 July 2000, p. 1.
  24. ^ James Rusk, Colin Freeze & Gay Abbate, "'The city has declared war' Native leader promises battle as Toronto Council approves plan to ship garbage north", Globe and Mail, 12 October 2000, A1.
  25. ^ Royson James, "Whiners should praise Lastman, not bury him", Toronto Star, 8 December 2000, p. 1.
  26. ^ Paul Moloney, "City warned of labour strife", Toronto Star, 8 November 2001, B1.
  27. ^ "Federal government partners with the City to fight water pollution", Canada NewsWire, 14 February 2002, 17:46 report.
  28. ^ Paul Moloney, "Water advocate knocks board proposal", Toronto Star, 11 June 2002, B1.
  29. ^ "City wants public input on plan to clean up waterfront" [media release], Canada NewsWire, 23 October 2002, 12:35 report.
  30. ^ Jack Lakey, "Private firms eye water system", Toronto Star, 18 November 2002, B1.
  31. ^ "Miller makes a sudsy entrance", Toronto Star, 11 January 2003, B2.
  32. ^ "Most jumped, some were pushed", Toronto Star, 24 December 2003, B2.
  33. ^ "Mayor faces Dalai Lama conundum", Toronto Star, 5 April 2004, B3.
  34. ^ Peter Kuitenbrouwer, "Up on cripple creeks", National Post, 4 August 2006, A7.

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