Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — A flea market is expected to be held every weekend at Bạch Đằng Wharf park in downtown HCM City, according to the People’s Committee of District 1.
The District 1 Public Service Company (PUSCO) and several government agencies earlier this week spoke with the district’s committee to finalise the plan before submitting it to the city’s People’s Committee.
The flea market is one of many activities that aim to revive Bạch Đằng Wharf, which has fallen into disrepair and has long been abandoned. The flea market will open while authorities work on a bigger plan for the wharf area.
Phan Quốc Vinh, who has lived near the wharf for more than 40 years, told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper that many people had hesitated to visit the park for fear of being robbed or pickpocketed because of the lack of lighting at the wharf.
Together with Nguyễn Huệ Pedestrian Street, the new flea market at Tôn Đức Thắng Street’s Bạch Đằng Wharf is expected to attract more tourists as well as locals.
Products from various Vietnamese brands will also be promoted. Depending on the theme of each flea market event, which could be fashion, food or other topics, certain brands and products will be chosen for display.
The market will have 100 booths spread across 100 metres of land from the hydrofoil centre to an oval room at the wharf. Visitors can park at designated spots that extend from the room to the wall next to Ba Son Pier.
Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, has also recently given support to another project, the “Con đường âm nhạc” (Music Street), which will be set up near Bạch Đằng Wharf.
Similar to the flea market, the music street will provide people with opportunities to learn about traditional Vietnamese music and other genres. Musical events and exhibitions will be hosted regularly.
Slow park revival
Years ago, the wharf was popular for various activities it offered, including HCM City – Vũng Tàu City hydrofoils, District 1 and District 2 ferries, dinner riverboats, and river cruises.
City residents also used to jog around the wharf’s park when it was in better condition.
In 2013, Saigontourist Company was in charge of reviving the park. However, since little process had been made, the city’s People’s Committee last year decided to hand over the project to PUSCO.
Saigontourist Company is still behind the project, with plans to turn the park into a square, according to Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper.
Nguyễn Đăng Sơn, deputy director of the Institute for Urban Studies and Infrastructure Development, said the upgrade of the Bạch Đằng Wharf park should be designed in a way that complements city infrastructure along Sài Gòn and Thủ Thiêm river banks.
“The city shouldn’t have one construction unit that plans everything, but instead should launch a competition to attract more talent and ideas, similarly to what Đà Nẵng did with Hàn River,” he said.
Nguyễn Trọng Hoà, former director of the HCM City Institute for Development Studies, said that it might take 10 years to fully develop the park.
“Authorities need to ensure that river banks along Sài Gòn River, including Bạch Đằng Wharf’s park, have to be for the public, not for investors.”
The revamped wharf park is part of a larger project that aims to upgrade the west bank of the Sài Gòn River, which includes Sài Gòn Bridge, Tân Cảng, Ba Son, Bạch Đằng Wharf, District 4 Port and Tân Thuận Bridge. — VNS