Janna Sylvest


Janna Sylvest



Running for

City/Town Council

Party or Slate (if applicable)



Do you know how much your local government invests in the arts? Would you commit to advocating for an increase in that cultural investment for arts, culture, and heritage in your community, within the capacity of your elected body?

The City of Castlegar 2017 expenditures were $1,460,717 on recreation and culture, a generous portion of that expenditure goes toward the Castlegar Sculpturewalk Society - full disclosure: I am a Board member of that Society - the City also contributes funding towards the Heritage Society , the Old Castlegar Theatre, Art Walk, and specific festivals and events, and provides property tax exemptions to the related facilities owned and operated by the Heritage Society, the Theatre, and the Gallery. Castlegar as part of the Columbia Basin is fortunate to also receive funding through the Columbia Basin Trust in support of arts, culture, and heritage, as well as the regional Arts Council, and to be home to the Kootenay Gallery. Castlegar is also bounded by Regional Districts that are also contributors to arts and culture within City limits and nearby.


If elected, will you take an active role on behalf of your local government in championing the growth of arts, culture and heritage in your community? Why?

I hope to continue on the Board of Castlegar Sculpturewalk, if not as a director, then as the City Liaison, and to continue to work with regional arts societies in my capacity as a consultant under the Columbia Basin Trust non-profit advisory program, integrating those efforts into my overall representation of local interests as a City Councillor. I'm a progressive, sustainable economic development professional ... this is a natural fit with support for community wide opportunities in the arts, culture and heritage community as I believe strongly that the cultural economy is a cornerstone to revitalization of healthy communities. We in the Kootenay are blessed with a rich cultural history to build upon.


Students with an education rich in the arts have better grade point averages and are three times more likely to get a degree. Will you commit to making the arts a critical component of every child’s education? If so, how?

I'm not a candidate for the School Board, which limits my options for directly influencing funding and curriculum for youth. Nonetheless, I certainly would work towards this goal indirectly, as an advocate and in facilitating alliances with cultural organizations, Selkirk College, and CBT programming.

Cultural Growth

How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?

Castlegar Sculpturewalk Society has earned the "Sculpture Capital of Canada" trademark through its tremendous work in building its annual exhibit to a lasting legacy of permanent installations ... I would continue to see that that program remains sustainable and has room to grow in capacity and scope ... I am also an advocate of facilitating a needed relocation and expansion for the Kootenay Gallery to Castlegar's downtown (and as part of a revitalization of the downtown in concert with the cultural economy), this is something I've worked toward in Stakeholder workshopping and written extensively about at janna.solutions, as a part of this renewal, I'm also an advocate for zoning to facilitate artist live work housing in the downtown core, and artist studio facilities as part of our recreation/parks and outdoor space.

Cultural Spaces

Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?

Castlegar Official Community Plan calls for increasing density in the downtown core ... and identifies a need for revitalization of the traditional downtown. Zoning and land use that supports artist live work housing in conjunction with licensing that integrates cultural spaces into our industrial, commercial, and retail districts is key to building upon our cultural economy. There are many opportunities for local government to negotiate cultural space when addressing development and density objectives - these opportunities would be front of mind in whatever role I'm called upon to facilitate during the neighbourhood planning process.

Cultural Tourism

How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?

By supporting the administration, coordination, strategy, and focus of the economic development office and destination Castlegar (a program run by the local Chamber of Commerce), to fully realize the opportunities our rich History, including First Nation and Doukhobor historical sites, offers, along with the historic sites operated by the Historic Society, the Sculpturewalk legacy and ongoing exhibits, and Gallery functions; with this foundation, there is so much potential for even greater benefits working together in concert with one another.

How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?

Selkirk College's programming in the arts already offers Castlegar a leg up over communities that lack such a longstanding, world renowned program ... so continuing to foster the College's place in our community is key. Housing flexibility that provides artists with affordable housing/studio/and retail space is already a part of my platform, as is an interest in repurposing a soon to be retired recreation facility (ice rink) into a Gallery and artist hub.

Key Issues

What do you feel is the single most important issue relating to arts, culture, and heritage in your community, and what action will you take to address it?

Important Issues: (1)Housing and studio space for individual artists and cultural works, (2) Relocation of the Kootenay Gallery and growth in its programming capacity, (3) Growth in Sculpturewalk administrative capacity so that it can expand its event programming, (4) Reopening the Doukhobor Museums restaurant, (5) Fostering by acknowledging and welcoming the expression of First Nation culture. I'd address it by local land use and zoning, facilitating strategy at the tourism/economic development level, and working with the Columbia Basin Trust to ensure programming at the Trust level is as good as it can possibly be to assist the non-profits who carry out this important work.


How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)

I'm a director on the Board of the Castlegar Sculpturewalk, a qualified consultant under the Columbia Basin Trust nonprofit advisory program providing strategic planning support, and an avid supporter of the Kootenay Gallery and Castlegar Theatre; I'm also a season ticket holder at the near by performance space in Trail BC, the Bailey.

Additional Information

If you'd like to provide voters with additional information about your stance on arts, culture, and heritage issues in your community, please use the space below.