Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman says EMS dispatch consolidation was a bad idea when proposed in the past and it’s a bad idea now.

He made those comments in a joint virtual press conference Wednesday afternoon with the mayors of Calgary, Red Deer, and the Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

All four communities continued to run municipal EMS dispatch sites after the rest of Alberta consolidated in 2009.

Spearman says Lethbridge and the other three municipalities are effective partners of AHS and that should be valued.

He adds they were “blind-sided ” Tuesday by news of the consolidation and are “strongly opposed” to the changes.

Spearman says consolidating EMS dispatch out of one of three centres will “jeopardize ambulance service and timely response to those who require it in Lethbridge and southwestern Alberta.”

Spearman and the other mayors are asking Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Premier Jason Kenney to personally intervene and put a halt to EMS dispatch consolidation for their communities.

Alberta Health Services says while the consolidation is not primarily a financial decision, it will eliminate duplication and save over $6 million a year.