Cancer survivor to stand this elec­tion

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

Toko­roa has been through it’s ups and downs over the years and the same can be said about Brenda Watkins.

Watkins, who has served two terms on the South Waikato District Coun­cil in the Toko­roa Ward seat, nar­rowly missed out in the last elec­tions but she’s ready to give things an­other crack.

It’s been no easy jour­ney for the for­mer school teacher and cur­rent chair of the Toko­roa Coun­cil of So­cial Ser­vices to get to this point though.

‘‘I just missed out last time which is part of pol­i­tics but it was al­most like fate re­ally be­cause I did have to face a chal­lenge when in 2014 I was di­ag­nosed with cancer. My prog­no­sis was ab­so­lutely vile,’’ she said.

‘‘Af­ter a sec­ond opin­ion my daugh­ter and I came home from hospi­tal and that night there was some­thing al­ter­na­tive on tele­vi­sion about vi­ta­min C. I went through chemo­ther­apy but I also got stuck into vi­ta­min C and a year and a half later I am fine.’’

‘‘I said to my on­col­o­gist ‘what do you reckon, three years on the coun­cil if I get in?’ and he said ab­so­lutely, there is noth­ing wrong with you and noth­ing you can’t do.’’

Watkins, who has lived in Toko­roa for 35 years, was also the first fe­male prin­ci­pal in Toko­roa. For 20 years she held the fort at Am­is­field School.

She said she has sev­eral ar­eas she wants to fo­cus on if elected, in­clud­ing pen­sioner hous­ing and re­mov­ing derelict and burnt out build­ings.

Her main fo­cus though would be on mak­ing Toko­roa’s cen­tral busi­ness district the best it can be.

‘‘As far as the Leith Pl re­de­vel­op­ment is con­cerned I stand on it but only so far,’’ she said.

‘‘It should not just be Leith Pl stage one be­cause the en­trances to our town need to be at­trac­tive enough for peo­ple to want to stop in Toko­roa. The re­de­vel­op­ment also needs to ad­ver­tise the rest of the shops, not just those in Leith Pl.’’

‘‘I would like a lovely big I-SITE with tech­nol­ogy show­ing all our bril­liant places such as the hospi­tal and Lake Moananui and give op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­tail­ers out­side the main street with the likes of fash­ion shows.’’

She said now was the time for Toko­roa to start shin­ing again.

‘‘We have got to get stuck in and do things,’’ she said.

SUP­PLIED

Brenda Watkins is once again stand­ing for the South Waikato District Coun­cil af­ter nar­rowly miss­ing out dur­ing the last elec­tions.

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