"If the culture of a region disappears, so does the region. Hadong-gun, where the natural environment, history, and tradition are harmonized, must find future answers in culture,” said Mayor Ha Seung-cheol of Hadong-gun.
In an interview with the Korea Post media, publisher of three English and two Korean-language news publications since 1985, Mayor Ha said, "We will restore the beautiful rural beauty by improving the space as a living place, workplace, and shelter."
The followings are excerpts from an interview with Mayor Ha Seung-cheol of Hadong-gun.
Question: Would you introduce Hadong-gun's urban environment and competitiveness?
Answer: A local era has opened in which you can enjoy fair opportunities wherever you live, and local development strategies are determined and implemented.
However, Hadong is worried about the reckless facilities on one side and the empty houses that are likely to collapse soon on the other side.
Our reality is that we are suffering from both difficult and underdeveloped problems due to the lack of systematic space planning. To overcome this, we will plan to compress various facilities scattered in the region so that users can easily access them and enjoy various related services.
In addition, we will create a luxurious rural city in Hadong and establish Hadong-oriented lifestyle, which is good for young people and others to visit, and return to farming and rural areas.
As a living place, workplace, and shelter, we will improve the space to regain the beautiful rural place.
First of all, we are establishing an urban development plan to prepare for a sustainable future city by utilizing the characteristics of the region with beautiful and convenient urban functions in the three major hubs of Hadong-eup, Jingyo-myeon, and Okjong-myeon.
First, we will mention the Hadong New Town Project. The new city of Neobungdeul will provide administrative public functions and residential functions together, and the old city will improve the residential environment as a pleasant and beautiful city focusing on education, culture, and shopping.
Next is Jingyo, the central city on the south coast. Jingyo-myeon will be created as an administrative complex town centered on the new government building and as the center of urban development, making residential and commercial functions revive in harmony based on the administrative service space.
Lastly, it's the shining “Okjong” project.
If housing functions linked to jobs based on the strawberry industry are secured, the population of nearby areas will naturally flow in and transform into Okjong-myeon, which shines even at night.
In addition to the three major hubs, each eup and myeon will establish a plan for a pleasant and harmonious rural space and establish a comprehensive urban development plan for each eup and myeon to provide specialized settlement conditions by organically linking with the three major hubs.
In addition, in order to improve the settlement conditions for rural vitality, we will invest 4.4 billion won over five years to create a better apartment to live in.
Lastly, we will strengthen the disaster safety prevention system by establishing a smart transportation system, establishing a safety transportation network, and expanding the integrated control center for roads that are easy to walk on.
Q: Please tell us about Hadong-gun's specialization strategy.
A: Hadong-gun declared 2023 as the first year of youth policy under the slogan "As Young People Want, Hadong" to prevent the outflow of youth population and promote inflow to respond strategically to the crisis of local extinction.
It plans to discover 22 new projects and invest a total of 14.8 billion won in 31 projects in a total of five sectors, including youth jobs, housing, culture, educational welfare, participation, and leisure.
Hadong-gun plans to provide intensive support in the housing and transportation sectors, which are the most essential elements of settlement, to enhance the stability of young people's settlement in Hadong-gun. For the stable settlement of young people, the county plans to raise 5 million won in marriage incentives to 6 million won, and to support 1.5% of the current loan balance and up to 1 million won a year, 3% interest on the loan balance, and up to 3 million won a year.
It plans to supplement the youth monthly rent support project (once-in-a-lifetime-10 months) currently being promoted to support additional monthly rent for up to three years and to support housing-related loan interest. It is preparing to provide a stable residential environment for young people by supplying long-term and short-term public rental housing with the goal of completion in 2024.
Considering the difficulty of purchasing vehicles for beginners in society and local conditions where public transportation is difficult to use, it also plans to push for a youth dream car (rent-a-car) support project to support vehicle rental for the purpose of starting a business.
In order to discover and solve local problems on their own as well as safety of housing and transportation, the county plans to create jobs and boost the vitality of the region through projects to foster and operate young (village) activists that reflect their characteristics.
It plans to listen to the stories of young people who are the main characters of the policy, such as the operation of youth policy networks and the composition and operation of youth policy redemption, and promote various projects to create policies together.
In addition, we are preparing for youth club support projects, book purchase expenses, and certificate application fees, and plan to continue to develop and promote policies for a better life for young people in the future. Through these various youth policies, Hadong will be created, focusing on the story of the youth, the main character of the stage called Hadong.
Q: Please tell us about Hadong-gun's innovation tasks and job creation plans.
A: Hadong-gun will push for the "first year of future preparation" in the direction of investment attraction policy, which will set a stepping stone for growth with the aim of early completion of the Daesong Industrial Complex, normalization of Galsasan Industrial Complex, minimization of legal risks, and full-scale creation of a combination of leisure and housing.
In order to normalize the Galsaman Industrial Complex and the Daesong Industrial Complex, the Galsasan Industrial Complex feasibility study and master plan will be established by May this year to select key attraction industries in Hadong district.
As Hadong is located on the south coast machinery, materials, shipbuilding, and aerospace industry belts from Busan to Goheung, it plans to attract investment in various areas, including the high-tech aviation support industry linked to the establishment of the aerospace agency and the battery high-tech chemical industry linked to the Yeosu National Industrial Complex.
In addition, an investment attraction advisory group will be formed to systematically and effectively discover and support companies and provide constructed data to companies that want to attract investment attraction, enabling them to attract companies with sustainable growth first.
In addition, in order to attract future industries and create settlement conditions essential for job creation, the county is seeking to build a mini-complex town for workers, and plans to designate a district to prepare settlement conditions through the development of cities near Daesong Industrial Complex.
In addition, the Daesong Industrial Complex has a completion rate of 98%, which is being promoted with the goal of early completion this year. In addition to the Gyeongnam QSF under construction in the Daesong Industrial Complex, the mixed fish feed production plant, which was selected for the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries' public offering project in March last year, is expected to expand in the future as it meets the government's policy to make mixed feed mandatory due to environmental pollution.
It is expected that the reduction of logistics costs of Hadong Green Tea Yellow Mullet feed will be of great help to Hadong-gun fish farming households.
The Duwoo Leisure Complex development project is speeding up approval of the final implementation plan with the aim of starting construction in the first half of this year.
By the end of 2025, a complex leisure complex with leisure and residential functions with a total project cost of 313.9 billion won is expected to be built on a 2.721 ㎢ site.
When the project is completed, it is expected that the economic ripple effect will be enormous, such as creating jobs in related industries in the jurisdiction and revitalizing the local economy.
As a preemptive countermeasure to ease the impact of high interest rates on small business owners and prevent a series of shutdowns and closures due to poor loans, the county plans to increase the interest rate of small business owners from 2% to 5% per year.
Support for small business owners' business facilities improvement costs will be expanded from up to 2 million won to 3 million won. In order to revitalize our county's traditional market, it plans to create 30 youth markets, kids cafes and shelters that young people want, and to foster stagnant and aging traditional markets into vibrant and distinctive traditional markets by establishing corners where local agricultural and specialty products can be purchased in one place.
As a solution to the rapid population decline and aging, it has secured 37 more jobs in nine areas with a budget of 1326 million won, an increase of 247 million won from the previous year.
It plans to deploy job counselors at job centers at all times to do its best to connect job seekers and support youth job search activity allowances to help young people find jobs they want.
Q: Please tell us about the tourism policy and the direction of revitalizing the local economy.
A: If the culture of a region disappears, so does the region. Hadong, where the natural environment, history, and tradition are harmonized, must find future answers in culture.
We will create a cultural and artistic environment and attractive cultural and tourism contents in life where everyday life becomes art, centering on the county residents.
Ssanggyesa Temple in Jirisan Mountain and Bulil Falls, which have long been considered a superb view for their outstanding natural scenery, were designated as "Myeongseung," a nationally designated cultural property, and their landscape and historical value were recognized.
Pyeongsa-ri, Akyang-myeon, was selected as the "Best Tourism Village" designated by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), providing an opportunity to promote the excellence of cultural and natural resources.
In the future, it plans to create a cultural and artistic environment in life where everyday life becomes art, and create attractive cultural and tourism contents that Hadong has.
For the sustainable development of the region through culture, the Hadong Art Troupe, which can create roots in various cultural arts in Hadong-gun and play a central role, will be established and fostered as a classy art troupe that utilizes Hadong's identity.
The Culture and Arts Creation Support Center will be established to expand opportunities to enjoy culture and arts centered on the county residents and foster professional artists.
It also plans to expand the development and support of self-sustaining cultural artists.
Carbon-free villages in Hwagae, Akyang, and Cheongam-myeon were finally selected for the Eco-Friendly Tourism Content promoted by the National Tourism Organization Council and awarded the Excellence Award at the International Slow City Best Practices Contest.
Samseong-gung Palace in Cheonghak-dong was selected as a "2022 Domestic Safe Travel Tourist Site" organized by the Korea Tourism Organization, providing an opportunity to publicize Hadong at home and abroad. It plans to develop a travel product (tea tour program) using wild tea, Hadong's representative cultural resource, to expand inbound travelers to Hadong-gun and promote tourism marketing projects linked to the 2023 Hadong World Tea Expo. In the future, it plans to build sustainable tourism content by creating a work program that reflects new travel trends and promoting a hot place designation project that utilizes Hadong's unique characteristics.
One of the new government's national tasks, the southern metropolitan tourism development project, is being planned. In connection with this, it plans to build a new tourism platform that utilizes Hadong's beautiful natural scenery such as Hadong Lake and Seomjingang River.
In addition, it plans to establish a tourism development plan using tourism resources in the northeastern region of our county such as Cheongam, Okjong, and Bukcheon to make it a tourist city responsible for balanced tourism development and the 100-year future.
Hadong World Tea Expo, which was approved for the first international event related to tea, will be held for 31 days from May 4 to June 3, 2023, under the theme of "Nature Scent, Healthy Future, Tea" and the vision of "Tea for the Sustainable Life of mankind."
It is pushing to become a unique expo in Hadong-gun.
With the 2023 Expo, the focus is on event contents that can contribute to actual tea consumption by spreading the taste of tea culture that everyone always enjoys by changing the public's perception that tea and tea culture are old and unfamiliar.
We are preparing an expo where anyone can heal and enjoy by greatly increasing to 70 experiences and events, including making my own blending tea for all generations and the public, a beautiful private tea room, daily tea table, tea utensils making, and children's tea ceremony classes.
The hosting of this expo will serve as an opportunity to develop the tea industry and revitalize culture in Korea.
It aims to attract more than 1 million domestic and foreign tourists, 30 billion won in export contracts in the province, and 5 billion won in agricultural products sales, and 2,363 job-inducing effects such as 264.5 billion won in production and value-added effects in Gyeongsangnam-do.
In addition, it will contribute to the development of the tourism industry in Gyeongsangnam-do by improving overall travel satisfaction by linking beautiful tourism resources in the nearby area with the Expo. In the future, it is predicted that it will lay the foundation for holding industrial expos periodically, becoming the center of world tea exchange where tea-related experts and scholars gather.
More than 70 experiences and events covering all generations, objects using various objects, the best tea trees and tea leaves spread to four-sided walls, combining the latest media technology to create a large immersive space, and six exhibition halls are waiting for you.
The beautiful tea fields and the distinctive beauty and emotion of Dawon, Dasil, Dasuk, and multiculturalism can only be experienced in Hadong.
Please pay a lot of attention to the 2023 Hadong World Tea Expo where you can see, feel, and experience everything about tea in May this year.
There are 109 cultural properties in Hadong, including 20 state-designated cultural properties and 56 provincial-designated cultural properties, and we will continue to discover Hadong's unique cultural properties and promote them to be reevaluated as state-designated cultural properties.
In addition, we will promote a high-quality cultural heritage utilization project that is enjoyed with all the county residents by implementing a cultural heritage utilization program involving various classes and ages.
As the master produced by Hadong, we will promote the Hyeonchang project to publicize General Jeong Ki-ryong, the main character of the undefeated myth during the Imjin War and the Jeongyu War, and to highlight him as a representative historical figure of Hadong-gun.
In addition, we will discover cultural heritage contents using Confucian security resources concentrated in the northeastern region of Hadong-gun, such as Okjong, Bukcheon, and Cheongam, and create a cultural heritage belt based on this.
In line with the global trend and the government's carbon-neutral promotion policy beyond the image of a cultural and tourism city, Hadong-gun plans to prepare a system necessary for carbon-neutral transition and shift to a carbon-neutral city ecosystem so that it can be reborn as an eco-friendly carbon-neutral city. In order to preemptively respond to the climate crisis, the 2nd Hadong-gun Climate Change Adaptation Plan was established. This year, the Hadong-gun Framework Ordinance on Carbon Neutral and Green Growth will be established to set up a carbon neutral promotion system and institutional foundation.
Hadong-gun is promoting various fine dust reduction projects, led by electric vehicle supply projects, and contributed to reducing emissions of internal combustion engines by supporting early closure and installation of reduction devices for old diesel vehicles.
In addition, it plans to continue various projects such as installing fine dust traffic lights for seniors and children who are not familiar with electronic devices, installing fine dust simple meters to respond quickly from fine dust through real-time monitoring, and supporting the supply of low-nox boilers to reduce greenhouse gases emitted from home. Based on Hadong's excellent natural environment, it plans to manage it not only as a "place to enjoy" but also as a "place to make Earth and human happiness sustainable."
Focusing on 10 carbon-free villages in Hwagae, Akyang, and Cheongam, which have excellent natural environment preservation and high willingness to practice carbon neutrality, it will operate with choices and concentration such as fostering leading villages, strengthening residents' capabilities, and operating ecotourism programs. It also plans to create Bukcheon Flower Cheonji Ecological Park as a healing space for children and all ages by connecting Bukcheon's vast flower scenery and gardens to experience nature and use it as an environmental education center for children.
Q: Please tell me about the plan to create an industrial complex in Hadong.
A: The business period of Daesong Industrial Complex is from 2009 to 2024, and it is located in Daesong and Jinjeong-ri, Geumnam-myeon. Of the 13.71 million ㎡ (41.5 million pyeong) with a total project cost of 276.7 billion won, there are 240,000 pyeong of industrial facility land, 150,000 pyeong of neighborhood living facility land, and 150,000 pyeong of public facility land.
Metal processing products, other transportation equipment, food products, non-metal processing products, primary metal manufacturing, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (solar power, other power generation, transmission and distribution), and warehouse and transportation-related services will be included. The business period of the Galsaman Industrial Complex is from 2009 to December 2023, and is located in Galsa-ri and Gadeok-ri, Geumseong-myeon. Of the 1.597 trillion won in cost and 1.7 million pyeong of land, there are 740,000 pyeong of land and 960,000 pyeong of sea sponge.
The project period of the Duwoo Leisure Complex is from 2012 to 2025, and is located in Gunghang-ri and Gopo-ri, Geumseong-myeon, Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do.The project cost is 313.9 billion won, and the area is 2721,000㎡. Major facilities include golf courses (27 holes), hotels, condominiums, golf villages, residential facilities (1,534 households), commercial facilities (theme villages, performance halls), and recreational and tourism facilities.
Q: Please tell us about your idea of Hadong-gun.
A: The future of Hadong-gun is all the beauty of rural areas that awaken the beauty of everyday life, safe and beautiful settlement conditions, and beauty.
Hadong-gun will shine more beautifully when we gather our hearts for each beauty, and Hadong, the only one in the world, will be created.
Hadong, the only one in the world, cannot compete with large cities and nearby small and medium-sized cities in terms of its functions and quantitative aspects such as education, medical care, shopping, and urban infrastructure housing, but it means that Hadong alone competes with its unique color and charm.
In 2023, this year's county administration will make sure to secure essential infrastructure and compete with charm by faithfully pursuing 70 pledges in five major areas promised to the county residents.
Through changes in healthy and classy lives, changes to vibrant cities without leaving Hadong, changes to representative rural models of Korean agriculture, changes to people-centered luxury cities, and changes in life through cultural tourism, we will lay the foundation for Hadong's future growth.