Sudbury city council unanimously shelved a proposal on Wednesday to optimize fire and paramedic services, citing the high cost and little time councillors were given to review the plan. 

"The feedback is clear from the public," Mayor Brian Bigger said.

"I think what we're looking for is an affordable optimization plan that we can feel comfortable about."

If accepted, the plan would have closed 10 fire halls, including one in the community of Beaver Lake where residents were threatening legal action

"I'm happy that they were able to turn that down and we can now go back to the table," said volunteer firefighter Marc Morin.

"If we can now go back to the bargaining table and talk to the chief, and explain to him that we are still committed to providing an efficient fire service within the outlying areas in this city .. I think volunteers can provide that service effectively."

'If we're one city for all, I think that we can't create stress or fear'

The move to cut fire stations would have reduced the overall age of the buildings to 19 years, down from the current average age of 44.

The proposal also would have largely replaced volunteers with full-time firefighters, and led to the hiring 58 new firefighters.

"People are questioning how all of this cost will affect their taxes," Coun. Evelyn Dutrisac said during the meeting.

"If we're one city for all, I think that we can't create stress or fear out there in the community."

Bigger said he does not see another proposal for an optimization plan being passed before the 2018 municipal election, but that council will consider implementing parts of the proposal.

"I don't want to throw this whole report out," Coun. Robert Kirwan said.

"But I don't believe that receiving it [fully] at this time is in the best interest of the city."