I don't know the background, so I could well be wrong.
But the article says it's the Stanley Park Hollow Tree Conservation Society who are paying for this. A quick google-fu couldn't find any infomation on them outside of articles on this issue, but I assume they're a private group who raised the money from donations.
If that's the case then why is there an issue about people being swimming in debt? The taxpayer isn't funding this and if people want to spend their money on preventing a 700 year old tree from getting the chop then so be it.
Of course, if it's public money then it's a different issue.