The two dozen or so people who live on Little Tancook Island year-round say their wharf has literally reached a breaking point.

The deck boards of the 62-year-old wharf bob up and down with the waves during rough seas. The end of the wharf, also known as "the Key," is in the most trouble.

"If you look at the top, it don't look that bad, but if you look at the wharf at low tide, there's holes in it. The stringers have gone out. It's in terrible, terrible shape," said Elmer Jollymore, a lobster fisherman who has lived on the island his entire life.

Carol Green is a long-time resident and a member of the Tancook Connection Committee, which is involved with issues around the wharf and ferry. 

"The wharf has let go and lifted. We are afraid that it's going to break away and wash out to sea," she said.

Some high school students walk the wharf each day on their commute to school on the mainland.

Green says the state of the wharf is not surprising, given how long it has been since repairs were last done to it.

"There hasn't been anything done to our wharf in the last 28 years. They surfaced it, put a new face on it and that was as far as it went. It's been deteriorating ever since," she said.

'It's our livelihood'

A weight restriction was imposed on the wharf in July of last year. The restriction is also limiting what people can bring to the island.

"We can't bring trucks or cars here. If they bring wood here, we have to grab it right away," says Jollymore.

Residents say they haven't been able to get septic trucks on to the island since the summer. Green and Jollymore say they have had to chemically treat their sewage.

The wharf is owned by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, but it has been trying to divest it to the province since 2014.

Last December, engineering consulting company AllNorth inspected the wharf and presented a report to the province.

"We know it's going to cost millions to fix, but we need it. It's our livelihood, our highway," said Green.