A Mississauga city councillor who led the opposition to a controversial gas plant and was instrumental in the ongoing redesign of the city’s eastern waterfront has passed away.

Ward 1 Coun. Jim Tovey died on Monday, according to Mayor Bonnie Crombie.

A cause of death has not been released, though Crombie described Tovey’s passing as “sudden” in a statement released early Tuesday morning.

Tovey had served on Mississauga City Council since 2010.

“Today is a sad day for Mississauga. It was an honour to work with and learn from Jim for the past six years,” Crombie said. “He was always there in your time of need, ready to lend a hand and never afraid to roll up his sleeves to get the job done. Jim had a great sense of humour and always looked for the positive in every issue or challenge.”

Prior to entering politics, Tovey served as the founder and president of the Lakeview Ratepayers Association.

It was through that role that Tovey helped convince the province to abandon plans to construct a gas plant along Mississauga’s eastern waterfront and helped create a community-driven master plan for the revitalization of the area that was ultimately adopted by all three levels of government.

Tovey later won Mississauga’s citizen of the year award for his efforts.

“Jim was a community builder whose legacy will live on through the growth and redevelopment of the waterfront, in particular the revitalization of Port Credit and the development of the Lakeview Lands,” Crombie said in her statement. “A more ardent defender of the Great Lakes you will not find, Jim led the charge to protect our waterfront and our waterways for future generations.”

Tovey is survived by his wife Lee and his son Daniel.

Flags will be lowered to half-mast at all City of Mississauga facilities in recognition of Tovey’s passing. A book of condolences will also be available at the Mississauga Civic Centre beginning on Wednesday.