COURTENAY, B.C- The third cannabis retail application for Courtenay got the green light last night.

The application was being brought forward by Urban Smoke Shop, an existing tobacco accessory operation along the north side of 5th Street just before the river crossing.

In documents attached to the city council agenda, city staff raise no major concerns about the application, though it did breach the limit on how close cannabis retail operations could be to city playgrounds due to Lewis and Simms Parks across the river.

Staff believed the river would act as a barrier.

However, the discussion on the location did raise the first opposition from a council member over a proposed site. Councillor Will-Cole Hamilton didn’t like the spot, describing Lewis Park as “Courtenay’s beach” with a lot of kids using the spot over the summer.

Tubing does bring a high amount of traffic to the site in the warm months, with Valley residents and visitors using Lewis Park as the exit point from the Courtenay River.

When it came time for a vote, Cole-Hamilton was the lone vote in opposition.

A public hearing for the Superstore plaza provincially-owned cannabis retail site came and went, without any residents speaking against the proposal.

Courtenay mayor Bob Wells said it was fair of Cole-Hamilton to bring up his concerns and vote his conscious, while also mentioning that some of the council thought moving the application forward to a public hearing would be a chance for more community feedback.

As for the lack of speakers for the Superstore plaza proposal, Wells spoke about the city’s existing cannabis retail policy, believing that it was a “pretty good system”.

“Legalization hasn’t had a lot of negative outcomes that people might anticipate,” said Wells.

The Urban Smoke proposal was the third of nine cannabis retail applications being processed by the City of Courtenay.

Only one at the Driftwood Mall has been been given approval for by the city for referral to the province. Under current city policy, only five private retail operations are allowed, and one government run store.

EDITORS NOTE: This story previously contained errors relating to the city’s cannabis retail regulations. It has now been adjusted.