The City of Vancouver is trying to keep "essential" workers close to their jobs by giving them first dibs on some units in the billion-dollar Olympic Village, but critics say the city is focusing on the wrong people.

Despite repeated promises to keep a major portion -- 252 units -- of the village's 1,100 units as social housing, Vancouver City Council has voted instead to turn 126 units into rental stock.

But not just anyone will be able to live in those units.

"We've asked staff to look at options for putting in people who are what we call core workers, essential to the life of the city," Coun. Geoff Meggs told CTV News.

At a council meeting Thursday night, politicians suggested that emergency workers, firefighters, police and even teachers get first priority.

Core workers were originally described as first responders -- the people the city would depend on in an emergency, and critics say teachers don't fit the bill

"Engineers, the people who'd get your water turned back on, hydro workers, the people who'd be able to get the electricity going back again -- those are the people you're going to need in a time of calamity," Mike Klassen of, a civic politics website.

Adding to the debate is the fact that all of the core positions suggested by council are union jobs -- the same unions that, according to campaign records, donated more than $400,000 to Vision Vancouver in the last election campaign.

But Meggs said that this isn't a case of preferential treatment.

"That is a conspiracy theory," he said.

And he insisted that the list of core professions isn't set in stone yet.

"The idea, of course, is to test the waters," Meggs said. "I think we're going to need some debate here, but I think it's something we really have to consider."

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Stephen Smart