The complaints are almost always about "more condos", i.e. complaints about building places for people to live.[...] It is possible to have substantial intensification and quality architecture.
It is possible to have condo towers (or mid-rise) yet preserve a more intimate streetwall/podium.
It is possible to have design variety and to preserve significant views. [...]
The complaints are hardly ever about architecture, streetwall/relationship to the street, or view corridors. When they are about those things, those are valid and important issues to raise. All too often, though, "it's too tall" is the only architecture or design issue raised, usually followed by a statement favouring some unreasonable and completely arbitrary height limit.
I appreciate that some members of the public who are frustrated by what they see as lack of architectural finesse and bad design at ground level may express that frustration as one with condos generally. Not everyone has the inclination, time or energy for architectural critique. But many many members of the public just don't want anything, and that is abundantly from their statements at public meetings, Community Council, etc.
So, yeah, the whole "ugh, more condos" thing is usually just a knee-jerk reaction about change and newcomers.