I can speak to it because I've worked on it for 10 years and I'm very familiar with it and the communities, including one of my colleagues there.
As I said earlier in my presentation, this was originally a partnership with the Province of Saskatchewan, its Ministry of Environment, and its actually one of the unique partnership agreements that we've been able to negotiate. The land use plan came about because of the dredging of Lake Athabasca. There's no more barging of the goods and services into the region. So part of it was the negotiation of the Athabasca seasonal road, which Anne spoke to earlier.
One of the conditions that our elders and leaders had agreed to in the past was that a land use plan be developed so that we could manage the lands and resources. I say this because roads lead to resources. Certainly we know the resources in the Athabasca are rich and there are a lot of opportunities for interest groups to come up. And part of it is so that we don't have infringements on our aboriginal treaty rights.
Part of that was one of the conditions for our entering into an agreement with the province. The province actually sat at our table while we developed the draft land use plan. It got boycotted by industry, where industry didn't want additional layers of rules applied to them because they felt they had the right and free consent to access the resources. This is our traditional territory and we understand that we have rights too and that we need to protect those rights.
Certainly we're not saying that we're against development, but we'd like to have a balanced approach in how we want to manage the lands and how it benefits our people in the north.
One thing is looking at our housing, as I'm sure Rob knows. Having been in our communities, he understands the living conditions of our people and the programs and the facilities we have. We're lacking all of these things that our cousins are saying they have, the paved roads and recycling bins. We don't have those kinds of things, and we're asking for them so that we can prosper economically. We don't have offices like this; we have shacks.
A land use plan could actually address a lot of the social and economic issues for us, and that's the reason we've entered into those agreements with the province. Certainly it would be great to renegotiate a new agreement, including with the federal government, and work on something that would be beneficial to the people in the Athabasca.