The new designs for West Rail stations have barely been unveiled and already there are doubts about whether they will see the light of day given the impending merger of the KCRC and MTR Corporation's railway operations. 'The timing is critical,' People's Council for Sustainable Development chairman Albert Lai Kwong-tak said. Once the merger had gone through, KCRC operations would no longer be under government control, he said. Still, he is not wholly pessimistic, pointing to the decision last year to reduce by 40 per cent the scale of redevelopment of a site in Oil Street, North Point, as a sign of the government's willingness to accept reduced revenue in return for a better living environment. 'It can be easy if the government has the will,' he said. Even so, the professor heading the research group that produced the plans, Essy Baniassad, fears the government's policy of maximising development revenue by seeking high land premiums could prove a hurdle. Town Planning Board member Ng Cho-nam said accepting the KCRC's revised proposals would be a breakthrough that might speed up the development process in the city. 'If the government does not compromise in response to the public's demands, the public outcry could cause endless interruptions,' he said.