OTTAWA -- What were once dream homes for families in Ottawa’s east end are now homes buyers can only dream of affording.

A protest took place Saturday outside of Ashcroft Homes’ offices on Renaud Road by home buyers who had their agreements of purchase and sale in Ashcroft’s Eastboro development cancelled.

According to a clause in the agreements, if Ashcroft was unable to construct roads and offsite infrastructure services to receive building permits by June 2020, Ashcroft could terminate the contracts.

The following response was provided by Jeff McEwen, manager of Ottawa’s east development review, as to why Ashcroft did not secure the permits.

"The developer has not received building permits because the legal outlet for the Storm Water Management Pond required in the Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECA) is outstanding. Without the stormwater management pond, the developer cannot start construction on the underground services for the subdivision which are required to get building permits."

"They said they’ve been trying to get it for three to four years now," says Nada Nasri, who agreed to purchase a home from Ashcroft in 2017, and has been waiting ever since.

"We waited three years and we’re willing to wait as long as they need. They unfortunately have decided to cancel our lots and we won’t be getting our homes."

Ziad Jaber also signed to buy a home from Ashcroft in January 2018, “I got myself, two delay notices and also the last one was an unavoidable delay because of COVID.”

Nasri was at Saturday’s protest. She and her husband put down a deposit to buy a home model called the "Driftwood", worth $419,800. Now Nasri says Ashcroft is pricing the former buyers out of their lots, citing a recent email from Ashcroft listing a "Driftwood" home in Eastboro for $607,800.

"We worked hard, saved our money, gave it to Ashcroft. We were expecting a home. All we want is our homes back at the agreed price," says Jaber.

Those who had their contracts terminated say when their homes go back on the market; they will be invited back for what Ashcroft describes as "VIP Pricing", though no further details have been given.

"Is it going to be $20,000, $50,000, $100,000, who knows," questions Jaber about the VIP pricing. "But it’s obviously going to be way more than what we paid because the market in the last two to three years has skyrocketed."

"At this point we just kind of feel hopeless," says Nasri. "We don’t have that many choices because of the market. There’s not much out there and if there is, there’s really nothing that we can afford"

Wednesday evening Ashcroft Homes Management provided the following statement on the situation: "Ashcroft Homes recognizes that recent events in relation to our Eastboro development have left certain purchasers disappointed. We continue to work with those individuals to address their concerns. While we are not in a position to comment on any specific discussions, we remain committed to customer satisfaction and we continue to work diligently in assisting the affected customers who have raised concerns. Our reputation has been built on a commitment to quality, innovation and integrity, which we maintain as we work toward a resolution for these customers."