The capital city of one of Vietnam’s poorest provinces is getting help from the Township of Langley under an international economic development program.
The program, funded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Canadian International Development Agency, provides expertise from the Township Economic Development Department to Ha Tinh City, a community of 91,000 people in Ha Tinh Province located in the northern part of central Vietnam, about 340 kilometres south of Hanoi.
On Monday, March 11, Township council approved sending a mission to the Vietnam in mid-April to work on an economic development strategy for the city.
That follows a visit last year by a group from Ha Tinh City in July of 2012.
The four-person Vietnamese delegation included the secretary of the Ha Tinh City Communist Party and the chairwoman of the Ha Tinh City People Council.
They spent 10 days in Langley, opting to arrive the day before Canada Day, July 1, 2012.
Previous to that, a three-person delegation from the Township spent five days in Ha Tinh City in February of 2012.
The goal, a city staff report states, is to use the Canadian community’s planners to help create a development plan “that will capitalize on the unique advantages and assets of the local community within the Vietnam national context.”
The report doesn’t mention many specifics, but one of those Ha Tinh City assets could be a nearby beach that once housed a tourist resort built by the French during their occupation of Vietnam.
Much of Thien Cam Beach, located 20 kilometres from Ha Tinh City, was destroyed during the subsequent wars, but it continues to draw foreign visitors.
The beach includes the historic Yen Lac Pagoda, which houses a famous set of paintings called “the King of Hell’s Ten Palaces.”
Ha Tinh Province is among the poorest provinces of Vietnam with 1.2 million residents who have an average annual household income of $1,500 to $1,800.
The weather conditions can be harsh, with very cold winters and very hot summers, as well as floods and storms in the fall.
The Township staff report said the links between Langley Township and Ha Tinh City could also come to include a co-operation agreement between Ha Tinh University and both Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Trinity Western University that would cover horticulture, nursing and English-language instruction.