The RMWB is planning to take over the costs of local EMS dispatch services to avoid transitioning into a provincial system.
Wood Buffalo council met on Tuesday where they approved a motion from Councillor Mike Allen to allocate around $660,000 in the 2021 municipal budget to operate the site.
All previous costs were covered by the provincial government with Wood Buffalo, Calgary, Lethbridge, and Red Deer having their own dispatch systems.
Last month, they confirmed they would be moving forward with plans to consolidate these systems into the province-wide Alberta Health Services structure with this move expected to save around $6 million annually.
Councillor Jeff Peddle says it’s ‘disgusting’ the RMWB has to make this decision.
“A great example of how something is dumped on our municipality, that’s the responsibility of the provincial government, that we have no choice but to do it for the health and safety of our residents.”
This move has received backlash from the four communities with Mayor Don Scott and Fire Chief Jody Butz claiming this ‘represents loss of life.’
According to Regional Emergency Services, local dispatchers send out ambulances 48 seconds faster in around 90 per cent of calls and verify addresses 30 seconds quicker than their provincial counterparts.
“I do not want to see anyone in this region having a heart attack or stroke not get the ambulance service that they should because of a decision that’s been made by the province,” added Scott.
Mix News has reached out to Alberta’s Ministry of Health and Alberta Health Services but is still waiting for an official response.
Meanwhile, budget deliberations are slated to take place between December 1 and 4.