A heated debate over a proposal to revamp fire and paramedic services in Sudbury, Ont., has prompted Mayor Brian Bigger to call a special city council meeting.

"I'm getting calls," Bigger said. "All of council is getting calls."

Bigger predicts attendance at next Tuesday's meeting to be one of the highest this term.

Councillors and staff will go over why the city is considering to replace many volunteers with professional firefighters, and shut down nine fire halls.

Coun. Deb McIntosh told CBC News she understands why people feel attached to their fire stations. 

Deb McIntosh

Greater Sudbury city councillor Deb McIntosh said she understands people's concerns over losing fire halls. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

'Upsetting' to residents

"It can be quite upsetting — absolutely," McIntosh said.

"But the other side of it is, if it burned down tomorrow, would we put it in the same place?"

Bigger says he sees ways of making the service more efficient.

"There are, perhaps, two fire stations that are three kilometres apart, and other things that could be optimized."

But Bigger insists council will listen to the public before making any decisions.

"We're in place to represent the citizens and the interests of the citizens," Bigger said.

"We're hearing what the citizens are saying."