02/03/2015 09:57 EST | Updated 04/05/2015 05:59 EDT

Nelson's downtown dog ban to be lifted, promises mayor

Councillors in Nelson, B.C., are a step closer to getting rid of one of the most restrictive dog laws in Canada.

Under the city bylaws dogs are banned from five full blocks of the Kootenay community's downtown — even those on a leash.

Last night city council began the process of revamping its dog bylaw, with the aim of having new rules in place by next month. The ban, which has been in place since the 1980s, has been the subject of recent criticism.

Recently elected Mayor Deb Kozak says the first step will be to address the downtown ban.

"The entire bylaw needs to be updated and that will happen at a later date. But at this point and time we are looking at a leashed zone in the downtown area and we are also going to look at what to do if people are compliant with leashes and picking up after their dog and those things," she said.

Kozak doesn't think changing the laws will alter the feel of downtown.

"I think for the first little while dog owners will be happy and we might see more dogs on Baker [Street], But for the most part people here are interested in going shopping with the their dogs," said Kozak.

"Maybe I'll be proved wrong but I don't think this is going to be such a big change"

Kozak tried to repeal the ban in  2013 while she was a councillor, but was unable to get single seconder for her motion.