Duly Quoted: James Pasternak, on the 519 Community Centre
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Duly Quoted: James Pasternak, on the 519 Community Centre

The councillor for Ward 10 has some concerns about one of the most celebrated non-profits in the city.

“I’m very concerned about the history of the 519 Church group and some of the programming they’ve done.”

—Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 10, York Centre) refers to the 519 Community Centre on Church Street, which has served the neighbourhood for 40 years. Pasternak was speaking to an executive committee item on a proposed $100-million LGBTQ community centre for Moss Park, which includes a $33-million donation from an anonymous donor, $33 million to be raised by additional donors, and $11 million from each order of government. Earlier in the meeting, Pasternak alluded to the 519 Community Centre previously hosting an event that he felt was unfairly critical of Israel. He did not refer to a specific meeting, but he has been the leading council critic of QuAIA, the queer activist group that disbanded in February. Pasternak also questioned City staff whether the 519 would provide programming at the proposed new community centre, which has not yet been determined. Among the programs the 519 offers are: peer mentorship, choirs, newcomer settlement services, book clubs, a program that delivers meals to homeless and sex-working trans people, pre-natal courses, tai chi classes, and employment services.