On the phone with business owner Ibrahim Manna, District 6

“I want to be able to say, ‘you know what, there is Dartmouth, not just Halifax.’”

Ibrahim Manna is running for office because the current councillor has been ignoring the needs of residents in District 6 (Harbourview–Burnside–Dartmouth East). “I’ve personally been talking to the councillor himself,” Manna says, “and he has done nothing to these issues.”

Manna, who’s lived and worked in the district for a long time, wants to be a voice for the district. “I know what the people need and want in that community,” says the man who helped save a woman from jumping off the MacKay Bridge in 2018. “I want to bring up all their concerns. I want to be there for them.”

He says people living in District 6 need affordable housing; it’s annoying that people cannot afford their housing anymore, as rents have doubled from what they used to be. Manna also doesn’t like that many businesses that could set up in Dartmouth are directed to Halifax. “It’s been pretty much the dark side. Everything going on is in Halifax,” he says. “I want to be able to say, ‘you know what, there is Dartmouth, not just Halifax.’”

Manna owns a construction business, and he wants to work with developers to achieve affordable housing as well as encourage more businesses in his district. As someone who runs a business, Manna says the city does not do a good job of allocating budgets to the right areas. “If you can’t get your money returned within five years on any investment, I call that a loss.”

He says one area the city should focus on spending taxpayers’ money is building and maintaining recreational centres. “We had the Gray Arena there, with a rec centre,” Manna says of the dilapidated Gerald B. Gray Memorial Arena and rink. “They haven’t done any renovations to that and they’re thinking of taking it down.” That’s a waste when the city ought to provide facilities to meet children’s needs for physical activity.

Manna, who moved to Canada with his family from Jordan 25 years ago, is also passionate about seeing immigrants settle into the district with ease. He wants to see skilled immigrants be integrated into the system without having to re-educate themselves. “To go back in school and study seven, eight years back again for engineering and all that stuff, it’s very hard especially when you have family and immigrated here.”

Instead, he’d like to have a policy in place where immigrants volunteer to prove their skills, and then after some time can get hired.

Manna maintains that the most important thing for him is to listen to the people in his district, and speak up for them during council meetings. “I’m here to stand for the people, and Dartmouth will always stay Dartmouth.”